Bylaws of the International Environmental Communication Association
(amended as of August 1, 2020)
ARTICLE 1: Name
The name of the organization shall be International Environmental Communication Association (IECA), as determined by a vote of the elected members of the Board (vote on July 11, 2011).
ARTICLE 2: Mission, Vision & Objectives
Section 2.1 – Mission Statement. IECA’s mission is to foster effective and inspiring communication that alleviates environmental issues and conflicts, and solves the problems that cause them. We do this by bringing together and supporting practitioners, teachers, scholars, students, artists and organizations that share these goals.
Section 2.2 – Vision Statement. IECA’s vision is to be a thriving, well-supported, and collaborative professional nexus of people and organizations whose environmental communication teaching, research, projects, campaigns, creations, and other activities are helping to achieve environmental health and justice.
Section 2.3 – Objectives. The IECA intends to support its mission through activities that promote international collaboration among its members and with other interested parties in ways that are consistent with goals of social and ecological sustainability in diverse contexts. Specific objectives include:
a. providing an international forum for transdisciplinary networking and collaboration and the advancement of the field of environmental communication;
b. supporting research and scholarship in environmental communication;
c. supporting practitioners’ and professionals’ applied environmental communication;
d. building connections and partnerships with non-governmental organizations, policymakers, businesses, institutions, and community members;
e. promoting pedagogy, teaching, and curriculum development at a variety of educational levels;
f. developing and promoting sustainable best practices in applied environmental communication settings; and
g. promoting awareness of environmental communication as a practice and field of study among professionals, educators, activists, policy makers, and media organizations.
Section 2.4 – Core Functions and Programs. The IECA shall conduct a number of core activities, including but not limited to:
2.4a – Journal. The IECA shall sponsor the publication of its official journal, Environmental Communication. The IECA shall provide editorial support for the journal, providing intellectual resources necessary to continue a strong publication record, and support with regards to editorial transition and other publishing activities.
Journal subscriptions shall be available to non-members, at a non-member rate.
2.4b – Conference. The IECA shall sponsor the Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). Support may take the form of monetary and other resource support, conference planning expertise, and host support. In support of the Association’s aspiration to maintain minimal negative environmental impact, conference sponsorship shall include development and support of virtual conference opportunities.
Conference attendance shall be available to non-members, at a non-member rate.
2.4c – Membership Directory. The IECA shall publish an annual directory that includes members’ contact information and relevant professional data to promote information-sharing and networking among members. The directory shall be made available on-line to members only.
2.4d – Website and Network. The IECA shall develop and maintain its own website and communications networks. The IECA web site shall serve as a repository of environmental communication news and resources, and shall be constructed so that members can contribute content.
ARTICLE 3: Membership & Dues
Section 3.1 – Membership qualifications. Membership in the IECA should be open to all persons and organizations who subscribe to the IECA’s Code of Ethics; promote the mission, vision, and objectives set forth in these bylaws; and pay the membership dues. IECA shall not discriminate in any way against members or potential members on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, nationality, ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.
Section 3.2 – Membership Categories. The Board shall have the authority to create membership categories as needed. The Board will work with the Executive Director to determine appropriate categories.
3.2a – Founding Members. Members who joined in 2011 helped launch the IECA and will be known as Founding members. Founding members will receive a 10% discount on their membership dues for as long as they remain active members. Founding Members’ names shall be identified on the IECA web site and be noted in the Membership Directory.
3.2b – Individual Members. Individual members are individual persons who join the IECA themselves.
3.2c – Organizational Members. Organizational members are organizations that join the IECA in order to provide membership benefits to individuals who are part of that organization. Each Organizational member shall have one individual responsible for managing the Organizational membership. That person shall be known as the Primary organizational member. Other individuals within the Organizational membership shall be known as Related organizational members.
Section 3.3 – Membership Benefits and Rights. All membership categories shall entail benefits and rights as determined by the Board and Executive Director. Membership benefits may vary according to membership category and from year to year. Benefits will be outlined on the IECA web site.
3.3a – Individual members and Primary organizational members shall have the right to:
i. vote in the election of members of the Board of Directors;
ii. vote on matters presented at meetings or in other forums for the consideration of the membership by the Board of Directors, including amendments to bylaws;
iii. run for election to serve as Members or Officers on the Board of Directors if they have been a member in good standing for at least a year preceding the start of the election (the date of the call for nominations);
iv. chair or participate in standing or ad hoc committees or task groups; and
iv. any rights and privileges provided elsewhere in these bylaws or designated by the Board of Directors.
3.3b – Related organizational members shall have the right to:
i. run for election to serve on the Board of Directors if they have been a member in good standing for at least a year preceding the start of the election (the date of the call for nominations);
ii. chair or participate in standing or ad hoc committees or task groups; and
iii. any rights and privileges provided elsewhere in these bylaws or designated by the Board of Directors.
3.3c – Related organizational members shall not have the right to:
i. vote in Association elections or on matters presented for vote;
Section 3.4 – Membership Limitations. Membership does not include any right, title, or interest in or to the property of the Association.
Section 3.5 – Termination. Membership and all rights and benefits of members shall automatically terminate upon a member’s death, voluntary resignation, or failure to pay dues as required. A member terminated because of voluntary resignation or failure to pay dues may reapply at any time.
3.5a - The Board of Directors of The IECA retains the right to bar from membership or expel any individuals or organizations that have been sanctioned or convicted for behavior not in compliance with the IECA Code of Ethics by a court of law, governmental agency or recognized self-regulatory entity to which they are subject.
Section 3.6 – Dues. Members shall pay annual dues in an amount established by the Board of Directors, taking into account membership category and nation of residence. Members shall receive a renewal notice prior to membership expiration. Annual membership dues shall be used to support the Association as determined by the Board of Directors.
Section 3.7 - Membership year. All memberships shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31 each year. Dues paid after January 1 shall be retroactive for the calendar year in which membership is requested.
ARTICLE 4: Board of Directors & Officers
Section 4.1 – Composition. The Board of Directors shall consist of eight to thirteen members, with every effort made to represent the international and vocational diversity of the organization. Eight members of the Board shall be elected by the voting membership, with four open positions being voted on every two years. If the editor of the Association’s journal is not among the elected members of the Board, that individual shall sit on the Board as an at-large member. To ensure international and vocational representation, elected members of the Board may appoint additional at-large members in order to fill any remaining seats on the Board.
Section 4.2 – Functions. The Board of Directors shall be responsible for overall policy and direction of the Association and shall delegate responsibility of day-to-day operations to the Executive Director. Members of the Board shall participate in all official Board meetings. Members of the Board shall also provide leadership to and oversight of the Association by serving in officer positions and/or by chairing or actively participating in committees and task groups related to the operations of the Association in fulfillment of its mission. The Board shall openly communicate its processes and decisions to Association members via email, the Association website, and other mechanisms.
Section 4.3 – Board Elections. The IECA shall hold regular elections for the office of Vice-Chair, as well as open positions on the Board of Directors, during October and November of even years. Special elections may be held at other times when needed to fill open elected Board member positions.
4.3a – Election process. Elections shall be administered through an online voting process. Prior to the regular elections, a call for self-nominations for Vice-Chair and open Board positions shall be sent to all members by email. After nominations are closed, there will be a period of discussion with the candidates, after which there will be a two-week voting period. Votes will be cast online on the IECA website. Results will be announced the day after the voting concludes. The Vice-Chair and individual members of the Board shall be chosen by a simple plurality of cast votes.
4.3b – Terms. Elected members of the Board shall serve staggered four-year terms. The same individual shall be eligible to run for re-election for up to two consecutive terms or eight years of consecutive service. Following a hiatus of two years, the member may again run for election. At-large members may serve up to two consecutive two-year terms.
4.3c – Start and end dates of terms. The terms of each incoming slate of elected Board members will officially begin at the June Board meeting in the year following the election. The outgoing Board Members’ terms will end at the same time. Between the election and this transition, incoming and outgoing Board members will work on transition issues.
Section 4.4 – Compensation. Members of the Board shall receive no compensation other than for reasonable expenses related to the execution of Association responsibilities.
Section 4.5 – Voting. All Board members shall be voting members. Two-thirds of the Board members must be in participation, in-person or virtually, in a meeting to constitute a quorum. Proxies shall not be accepted. Meetings that are without quorum may propose resolutions that are to be voted upon in the next meeting having a quorum or by email. Unless noted otherwise in the bylaws, decisions of the Board shall be determined by a simple majority. In the event of a tie, the Chair of the Board shall cast the deciding vote.
Section 4.6 – Officers and Duties. There shall be four Officers of the Board. Officer positions and their duties are:
4.6a – Chair. The Chair of the Board shall convene, and preside over Board meetings, including Membership Meetings. The Chair shall also assist with coordination of tasks within each committee and among committees. The Chair will serve for two years.
4.6b – Vice-Chair. The Vice-Chair shall be chosen every two years through a direct election by association members. The Vice-Chair shall assist the Chair, serve in the Chair’s absence, and head the Nominating Committee. The Vice-Chair will serve in that office for two years, then will succeed the Chair.
4.6c – Secretary. The Secretary shall be chosen by the Board from among its members and shall normally serve for two years. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping records of Board decisions and actions, including overseeing the taking of minutes at all Board meetings, sending out meeting announcements, distributing copies of meeting agendas and minutes to each Board member, and assuring that records of Board's’ actions are maintained.
4.6d – Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be chosen by the Board from among its members and shall normally serve for two years. The Treasurer is responsible for managing the Association’s accounts (bank, PayPal, etc.), making sure tax returns are filed on time, and working with the Executive Director to manage costs and revenues. The Treasurer shall make a financial report at each Board meeting, assist in the preparation of the budget, help develop fundraising plans, and make financial information available to Board members and to the public.
Section 4.7 – Conflicts of Interest. Any member of the Board having a financial, personal, or official interest in, or conflict (or appearance of conflict) with any matter pending before the Board, of such nature that it prevents or may prevent that member from acting on the matter in an impartial manner, shall offer to the Board to voluntarily excuse her/himself and shall vacate her or his seat and refrain from discussion and voting on said item.
Section 4.8 – Resignation and Termination. Board member positions may be vacated before the end of a term due to resignation or termination. Resignation from the Board must be in writing and received by the Secretary. A member of the Board shall be terminated from the Board for two unexcused absences from Board meetings within the tenure of any given term. Members of the Board may be removed for other reasons, such as failure to lead or actively participate in and contribute to committees or task groups and/or failure to otherwise contribute to the leadership to and oversight of the Association, by a three-fourths vote of the remaining members of the Board.
Section 4.9 – Mid-term Vacancies. If a vacancy on the Board of an elected Board member position occurs mid-term, the Vice-Chair shall solicit and receive nominations from the Board for a replacement Board member. These nominations shall be sent in advance to all Board members to be voted upon at the next Board meeting. Replacement appointments shall complete only the remainder of the vacated term. If more than one year remains in the term, the Board may call for a special membership-wide election to fill the position to complete the term.
Section 4.10 – Concerns. If a Board member receives a question, suggestion, or complaint, the Board member should raise the issue with the Executive Committee, the relevant committee chair, and the person directly involved (if one is named). The relevant committee should then work with the person involved and/or Board of Directors to establish a course of action.
ARTICLE 5: Executive Director
Section 5.1 – Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be contracted or appointed by the Board. The Executive Director shall manage the day-to-day responsibilities and functioning of the organization, including, but not limited to, carrying out the Association’s policies, keeping the Association’s records, creating and maintaining the annual membership directory, supporting the work of the Board and committees, and coordinating and promoting volunteer and committee activities in support of the Association’s mission. The Executive Director may delegate responsibility for specific aspects of the management of affairs while holding accountable the parties to whom responsibility has been assigned. The Executive Director shall attend all Board meetings, report on the progress of the organization, answer questions of the Board members, and carry out the duties described in the job description. The Executive Director shall not vote on matters before the Board.
Section 5.2 – Accountability and Compensation. The Executive Director shall be accountable to the Board of Directors through regular reporting and a mutually agreed evaluation process. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for negotiating terms and compensation with the Executive Director. The Board for Directors must vote to approve the terms and compensation prior to the signing of an agreement with the Executive Director.
ARTICLE 6: Committees
Section 6.1 – Standing Committees. The Board of Directors may establish Standing Committees as deemed necessary to carry out and sustain the long term strategic objectives of the Association. Standing Committees shall be initially chaired by a founding member of the Board and shall be chaired by a member of the Board at any time that a Committee is lacking in leadership or if a member of the Board is chosen by Committee members to act as Chair.
Section 6.1a – Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of the four Officers of the Board and be Chaired by the Board Chair. The Committee shall be responsible for acting on behalf of the Board to deal with urgent matters between Board meetings, reporting the details to the rest of the Board, and for negotiating terms and compensation with the Executive Director.
Section 6.1b – Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall be responsible for assisting the Board in developing criteria for selecting nominees and for recruiting, screening, and presenting candidates both for election, and for appointment in the case of at-large members. The Committee shall assist in conducting elections.
Section 6.1c – Outreach Committee. The Outreach Committee shall undertake various forms of communication and outreach to the public. This includes promoting the association generally, recruiting new members, and international networking.
Section 6.1d – Conference Committee. The Conference Committee shall assist the Executive Director in soliciting and selecting hosts for the Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). It shall work with the host and Executive Director to plan and organize the conference.
Section 6.1e – Research Committee. The Research Committee shall assist the publisher in selecting the Editor of the Association’s journal and in developing the aims and scope of the journal. The committee shall explore and support other research and publication opportunities consistent with the mission of the Association.
Section 61f – Development Committee. The Development Committee shall be responsible for generating income for the Association through fundraising and other appropriate means, for both general operations and specific projects and programs.
Section 6.1g – Awards Committee. The Awards Committee shall establish and implement awards programs for environmental communication accomplishments, by members or non-members, that may include research, teaching, practice and other activities that are relevant to the mission of the Association.
Section 6.2 – Ad-Hoc Committees and Task Groups. The Board of Directors may establish Ad Hoc Committees and short-term Task Groups as deemed necessary to plan and/or implement programs or to explore issues that may have an impact on the mission or objectives of the Association.
Section 6.3 All committee Chairs shall provide written reports on the activities of their committee to the full Board at least one week prior to regular Board meetings and at other times when Board attention is required.
ARTICLE 7: Meetings
Section 7.1 – Business Meetings. The Board of Directors shall hold quarterly Business Meetings to review policy and address Association issues. The Board may hold additional meetings as needed. The Board may hold meetings virtually or in-person. From time to time, the Board may invite Association members to observe or participate in Business Meetings.
Section 7.2 – Membership Meetings. The Board of Directors shall hold a Membership Meeting at the COCE to report to the general membership about the state of the Association as well as to discuss Association matters and to take questions from members. The Board may hold additional Membership Meetings at other times in-person or virtually. The time, date, and location of all Membership Meetings shall be announced to all members of the Association at least two weeks in advance of the meeting.
Section 7.3 – Transparency. The Secretary shall post the official approved minutes of each Business Meeting on the IECA website in a place accessible to all members.
ARTICLE 8: Voting
Section 8.1 – Eligibility. The voting membership shall be comprised of those individuals who are in good standing as indicated by their membership status and type under Article 3.
Section 8.2 – Decisions. All decisions calling for votes shall, except as stated otherwise in the bylaws, be taken by a simple majority. Whenever a vote is evenly divided, the vote of the Chair of the Board or Committee shall be decisive.
Section 8.3 – Proxies. No proxies shall be accepted.
Section 8.4 – Voting method. All voting for the election of members of the Board or to amend the Bylaws shall be by mail or electronic ballot among the voting members of the Association. The Board of Directors shall determine when or if matters before the Board should be voted upon by the general membership.
8.4a. – Mail and Electronic Ballots. In order to be valid, ballots must be received by the Secretary on or before the date specified on the ballot.
ARTICLE 9: Finances
Section 9.1 – Financial Resources. The IECA shall be financed by membership dues, COCE, donations, and other lawful means.
Section 9.2 – Reimbursement. The Treasurer of the Board shall be responsible for decisions about reimbursement for expenses incurred by the Executive Director, members of the Board, Committee Chairs, or others who carry out work for the IECA.
Section 9.3 – Non-Profit Status. The IECA shall seek legal status as a non-profit organization under U.S. federal tax law. The IECA is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future tax code.
ARTICLE 10: Amendments
Section 10.1 – Proposals to Amend. Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed by majority vote of the Board of Directors or by any standing committee of the Association or by a petition signed by at least ten percent of the voting membership.
Section 10.2 – Voting Procedures. A proposed amendment shall be voted on no more than three months after the amendment is proposed. Amendments initiated as per Section 10.1 shall be distributed to all members of the Association for vote by mail or electronic ballot.
Section 10.3 – Adoption of Amendments. These Bylaws may be amended or new bylaws adopted by a two-thirds vote of the voting members of the Association. Unless otherwise specified, a proposed amendment becomes effective as soon as it has been approved by the vote of the members.
ARTICLE 11: Dissolution
Section 11.1 – Process. The IECA may be dissolved by a three-fourths majority of the Board of Directors. Amendments or a proposal to dissolve must be advertised to all members of the Association six months in advance. Such notification must contain the full written text of the amendment being proposed.
Section 11.2 – A resolution to dissolve the IECA shall name those persons who shall be charged with the liquidation of the IECA’s assets and properties.
Section 11.3 – Distribution of Assets. In the event that the Association shall be hereinafter dissolved, the assets of the Association shall be distributed in accordance with the laws of the state in which the Association is incorporated.