AERE Code of Professional Conduct

As a professional organization representing environmental and natural resource economists, AERE is committed to facilitating an equitable and inclusive environment throughout the organization, at sponsored professional events and activities, and through its journals. This requires a culture in which all individuals are respected and are treated fairly regardless of their individual characteristics such as gender identity and expression, age, race, ethnicity, nationality or national origin, religion, political affiliation, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, disability, health condition, physical appearance, marital status, parental status, professional status, or personal connections.

Policy Statement
AERE is committed to the fair and ethical treatment of all individuals participating in activities connected with, or related to, AERE and of all of its members in every aspect of professional conduct. AERE strives to provide an atmosphere that promotes intellectual discourse and opportunities for professional development for all, including those who are historically under-represented in the Association and in the broader economics profession.

AERE has no tolerance for, and prohibits, any type of discrimination or harassment in professional conduct, including sexual harassment and racism, within and beyond the organization, at professional meetings, or during any professional activities that are conducted under the aegis of AERE. Violators will be subject to sanctions and/or disciplinary action, as described later in this document.

All AERE members are required to disclose to the Executive Director if any deliberative body, including a college or university, a grant-making or other agency, or a court has determined that they have committed scientific or professional misconduct, including any form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, or if they have been subject to disciplinary action at their home institution or they are currently not in good standing. Disclosures will be reviewed by the AERE President and a committee of AERE Board members. Clear and compelling evidence of scientific or professional misconduct, failure to disclose past findings or an ongoing investigation may be grounds for suspension or termination of AERE affiliation.

Candidates for elected office and other leadership positions, including journal editors, guest editors, editorial council members, appointees for committee assignments, nominees for and winners of AERE awards or other types of recognition bestowed by AERE, who are found to be in violation of this policy may be barred from holding office and service assignments within AERE and may not receive recognition from the Association.

Definitions of Harassment
Harassment is a behavior which causes distress, fear for personal and/or professional safety, or physical or psychological harm to another person. This includes, but is not limited to, behavior based on actual or perceived race/ethnicity, religion, age, gender expression or identity, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, citizenship status, geography, place of origin, marital or familial status, or professional status or rank.

Harassment does not need to have malicious intent; the impact on the person reporting the
harassment must be addressed regardless of the intent. Harassment includes, but is not limited
to, insults, insinuations, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; teasing, bullying, or denigrating jokes or behaviors; and display or circulation of written, spoken or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility towards others.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is the unwelcome presence or suggestion of sexual advances, requests for
sexual favors, unwelcome comments of a sexual nature, and other conduct of a sexual nature in the professional setting. An individual can be the victim of sexual harassment by someone of the same gender expression or identity.

Discrimination is bias towards an individual or group of individuals that results in unequal or unfair professional opportunity. Discrimination may be based on, but not limited to, providing unequal professional opportunities based on race, gender identity and expression, age, national and ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, political belief, socioeconomic background, disability, health condition, physical appearance, marital status, parental status, professional status, or personal connections. For example, discrimination may occur in selecting articles for publication, recommending or inviting speakers or panelists, or providing other volunteer opportunities. Unconscious bias in favor of or against a group of people can be a form of discrimination.,

Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to all AERE members and applies broadly to professional conduct. All AERE members are expected to abide by standard principles of scientific integrity and to abide by the AERE Code of Professional Conduct when carrying out research, participating in research meetings, interacting with other scholars, and discharging their other professional responsibilities. The Policy also applies to all registered participants at AERE events, regardless of membership status. This Policy also applies to online speech or conduct on the AERE website, listservs, or discussion boards that operate under the aegis of AERE as well as all other AERE activities, such as engagement with AERE journals.

Acknowledgement and acceptance of this Policy will be required by all AERE members and for participation in all AERE or AERE related events, regardless of location or platform.

An individual being harassed, or who becomes aware of someone else being harassed in a professional setting, or has concerns about discrimination at an AERE event or AERE sponsored activity, should contact the AERE President, Executive Director, any AERE Officer, or a member of the AERE Board immediately. The names, titles, and contact information for these individuals are listed on the AERE website and also included in event information (if applicable). Formal complaints should be made in writing to the AERE Executive Director by emailing [email protected] who will inform the AERE President (or other AERE Officer, as appropriate) of the complaint.

Investigation Process
Every report of harassment will be investigated promptly and impartially, with every effort to maintain confidentiality to the extent possible. The AERE President, in consultation with other Officers and the Board of Directors, shall implement the procedures set forth below for investigating and determining any action to be taken with respect to the complaint. In cases where the complaint involves a prima facie criminal act, such as an assault, local law enforcement agency will be immediately informed.

The AERE President will act as investigator and inform the AERE Officers and Directors about all complaints. If a complaint is lodged concerning the AERE President, then the report will be made to the AERE President-Elect or Immediate Past President who will oversee any subsequent investigation. In case of a conflict of interest, the AERE Board of Directors will appoint an appropriate investigator from among the Directors or broader membership. If a complaint is made about an AERE Officer or member of the Board of Directors, they may not participate in the investigation, the determination as to whether the complaint was proven, or in determining the appropriate disciplinary action.

The AERE President (or appointed investigator), in consultation with other AERE Officers and the Board of Directors, will appoint an ad hoc committee (the “Ethics Committee”) within 10 business days of the filing of the complaint. The Ethics Committee will be comprised of three at-large members, one of whom will Chair the Committee. The AERE Secretary will serve as an additional ex officio non-voting member of the Ethics Committee. In case of a conflict of interest, the Secretary will be replaced by the Treasurer. The other Committee members will be chosen so as to avoid bias or appearance of bias in the composition of the Committee. The Board will refer the complaint to the Ethics Committee which will review the matter and determine appropriate action in furtherance of this policy, following the procedures outlined in the Investigation Procedures document.

Once the investigation is complete, the Ethics Committee will develop a report of its findings and a recommendation for further action, if any, to be taken with respect to the complaint. The Ethics Committee will send its report and recommendation to the AERE President (or appointed investigator) within six (6) months of the initial complaint.

Disciplinary Action
The AERE President, in consultation with other AERE Officers and the AERE Board of Directors, may take any disciplinary action deemed appropriate and recommended by the Ethics Committee. Such action may be along the continuum from a verbal warning temporary expulsion from AERE, temporary ban from participation in future AERE activities (even as a guest), or such other action as is determined to be appropriate under the circumstances. AERE may issue a statement of censure for any current or past leader who is found to be in violation of this Policy and past awards or other recognition may be withdrawn.

Reporting Without Fear of Retaliation
No AERE member or non-member will be retaliated against for reporting harassment or discrimination. This no-retaliation policy applies even when the complaint is determined to be unfounded after investigation. No AERE Officer, Director, journal Editor or Editorial Council Member is authorized, or permitted, to retaliate or to take any adverse action whatsoever against anyone for reporting harassment or discrimination, or for opposing any other alleged harassing or discriminatory practice. Retaliation in any form will be considered a violation of the AERE Code of Professional Conduct.

Approved by the AERE Board of Directors (January 2022)