Gertie Arts, SETAC President

What Does the New SETAC Strategic Plan Tell Us?

The purpose of the Strategic Plan is to define SETAC’s strategic priorities for the next three to five years. Strategic priorities were designed to fulfill and enhance the society’s vision and mission as laid out in the society’s bylaws and constitutions. The SETAC World Council (SWC) will be guided by the Strategic Plan to design programs to advance those priorities.

SETAC Values

Gertie Arts

Gertie Arts, SETAC President

New in the Strategic Plan is the inclusion of SETAC values. While SETAC members, guests and partners have always been expected to adhere to the SETAC Code of Ethics and SETAC Code of Conduct, the newly defined SETAC values take it a step further and define ideals we hold dear in our community. The first one is transparency to indicate that SETAC is committed to being an open and transparent society. SWC hopes that SETAC transparency will extend beyond open meetings and into open science with a goal of stimulating cooperation, knowledge sharing and dialogue. The second value identified is integrity to showcase SETAC’s insistence on personal and scientific integrity in meetings, communication and scientific discourse. The value of diversity and inclusion are identified to express that SETAC strives for both scientific and individual diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of governance and programming. This value of diversity includes both diversity in science as well as individual diversity in all its aspects. Further, the value of equity is noted to refer to the promotion of impartiality and fair-mindedness within procedures and processes in SETAC. Finally, sustainability is identified as a value that should be considered for all activities within SETAC.

SETAC Strategic Priorities and Objectives

The SETAC strategic priorities as adopted in the Strategic Plan are to:

  1. Advance environmental science: Promote research, education, communication and training in the environmental sciences
  2. Promote science-based decision-making: Promote the application of interdisciplinary environmental sciences in environmental management
  3. Sustain organizational health and capacity

Each of those three priorities is associated with several objectives that will help achieve it. Some of these objectives are business as usual (e.g., meetings), but several new objectives have been added and some of them are already being initiated.

Programs being investigated, initiated or expanded to support the first priority include a global certification program for environmental risk assessors, virtual meetings and new forums for communications, and open science initiatives. For the second priority, we aim to expand our outreach program drastically. As for the third priority, it focuses on organizational health and capacity, which covers the financial health of SETAC and operational strength of governance and administrative aspects. Of these governance aspects, membership and participation is a topic that is currently in full discussion at the SWC as well as at the geographic unit (GU) level.

Implementation of SETAC’s Strategic Plan

SETAC’s strategic priorities and objectives as defined in the SETAC 2018 Strategic Plan can be – and already are – used by other SETAC entities (GUs, chapters and branches) to support their strategic plans, recognizing that some of the objectives identified for SETAC globally will clearly not be applicable to all entities. Feedback from some GUs is that they will use the global Strategic Plan as a starting point for collating a similar document at their GU level. For this purpose, a SETAC strategic planning self-assessment tool was delivered in addition to the Strategic Plan. Altogether, the Strategic Plan, self-assessment tool as well as support by the SWC provide a structure and process for SETAC to achieve the priorities.

The Strategic Plan is playing an active role in the planning process within the global SETAC organization. A main outcome of the global strategic planning process is that it provides a structure and process for SETAC to achieve these priorities. Based on the new Strategic Plan, an annual plan for 2019 has been established at the global level that is tied to the annual budget. This annual plan has identified goals and actions for 2019 to advance specific priorities and objectives from the Strategic Plan and associate them with schedules, resources and responsible parties. A similar process is foreseen for 2020 and the years thereafter.

The Strategic Plan requires periodic review and updates in response to suggestions and new priorities brought forward by the SWC, GU governing bodies, staff, committees, standing interest groups and the SETAC membership and to make sure the society stays current with the evolving global environmental challenges and membership’s needs and interests. It is implicit that the global executive director and executive directors of SETAC North America and Europe have an integral role in the strategic planning process and implementation.

The Long-Range Planning Committee is very excited about the new plan and hopes that it will help SETAC navigate the next five years and result in significantly advancing our mutual vision of Environmental Quality Through Science®.

Many thanks to the members of the Long-Range Planning Committee, who included Michelle Bloor, Annegaaike Leopold, Amanda Reichelt-Brushett, Carlos Arias-Barreiro, Otitoju Olawale, Beatrice Opeolu, Roman P. Lanno, Mary Reiley, Tatiana Furley, Daniel Wunderlin, Gertie Arts, Tamar Schlekat and Charlie Menzie, and to the members of the SETAC World Council.

Author’s contact information: gertie.arts@wur.nl

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