Code of Conduct Committee

The Pacific Seabird Group is developing a voluntary Code of Conduct for all members.  Most non-profit organisations have a Code of Conduct (also called Code of Ethics or Code of Professional Conduct), and it is one of the policies that was recommended to PSG by an independent audit in 2012.  In order to make this happen, an Ad Hoc Code of Conduct Committee was formed in 2015 at the San Jose, California, PSG Annual Meeting and, over a period of 18 months, the Committee created a draft Code of Conduct with input from the Executive Council, member’s suggestions, and advice from other organisations.  The Committee reviewed similar Codes from respected societies, organisations and government agencies in United States, Canada and Europe.   A range of factors was considered including applicability across 16+ countries where members reside, diversity of member affiliations (e.g., students, academia, non-profit, government, consulting, retired), feasibility and practicality to implement and uphold. The Code elements and investigation approach were informed by examining other codes including American Ornithological Society and Society of Conservation Biology.

Steps for reviewing the draft Code of Conduct, then finalising and approving it are as follows:

(1) legal review of draft Code of Conduct. Completed.
(2) distribute for member input. Completed – 285 comments received. See below for summary
(3) Committee revises document based on member input. In progress.
(4) Committee submits revised draft to Executive Council for review and approval to send to members for a vote
(5) EXCO Secretary submits revised Code to members for a vote via online ballot
(6) Vote results taken to EXCO for discussion and approval
(7) Once approved, Code is posted online and sent to members

It is expected that this process will be completed in 2019.   Steps 2-4 will be repeated if a draft does not pass with 50% member vote in step #5.

For questions or more information, please contact Joanna Smith,  Chair of Ad Hoc Code of Conduct Committee  via email:

Ad hoc Code of Conduct Committee members

Joanna Smith – Chair 2016-2019
Jen Zamon – Chair 2015-2016
Anne Harfenist
Annette Henry
Ken Morgan
Kim Nelson
Jennifer Provencher

Draft PSG Code of Conduct – click here (version June 2018)

PSG draft Code of Conduct member survey – Summary

  • Survey link sent to 369 members on 4 Jul 2018
  • Survey closed 31 Aug 2018
  • 14 Statements, one open question and a general comment box
  • 186 members (50.4% of membership) completed survey
  • 285 comments submitted 
  • On average, 94% of responses were “Yes” that agreed with wording  (range: 87-97 %)
  • On average, 6% of responses were “No”, with comments (range: 3-13%)
  • 5-22 comments per statement (average = 11)   
  • 108 comments on the open question for how to handle members not adhering to the voluntary Code
  • 40 general comments, mostly “thank you” to PSG for developing the Code

Summary of responses to Code of Conduct statements (Aug 2018)