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FAQs on Environmental Stewardship

Does AMS have any official statements or policies that pertain to environmental stewardship?

The AMS Council adopted a Professional Guidance Statement on Green Meetings in 2011, which led to implementing environmentally responsible efforts during the planning process and while collaborating with vendors and contractors for AMS meetings.

Why does AMS still produce hard copies of BAMS and its other journals?

Each year, Individual Members are asked whether they would like to receive a print version of BAMS. All members have access to the BAMS Digital Edition, which provides a computer and tablet-friendly viewing experience while expanding the accessibility of the journal to the Society’s membership. Consequently, the demand for a printed version of BAMS has steadily declined; about 26% of members opted out of the printed version when renewing their membership in 2019 (a 6% increase from the previous year). AMS believes circulating the journal through multiple media channels is the best way to serve our varied readership. The new version of BAMS, which is scheduled to launch in January 2020, will significantly reduce the number of pages in the print version while expanding the overall amount of BAMS content including new online components. The print runs of other AMS journals are now quite small, mainly going to libraries who maintain archive copies as part of their stewardship of scholarly content.
 

Has AMS considered dropping the plastic mailer that’s wrapped around BAMS when hard copies are sent in the mail?

Starting with the February 2019 issue, Individual Members began receiving BAMS "plastic-free". Address labels are now affixed directly to the BAMS cover. Institutional Members, however, will still receive BAMS wrapped in plastic. AMS opted to maintain the current practice for Institutional Members to ensure they receive print copies that are free of damage, as they tend to archive these issues. In contrast, Individual Members tend not to archive issues as they once did; BAMS Digital Edition provides an archive of journals that can be accessed and downloaded in pdf form. Regardless, it is a rare occurrence for publications to suffer damage in the mail stream. Thus, the decision was made to eliminate the polybag wrappers for Individual Members.

 

Does AMS use renewable energy at its offices?

AMS has taken significant steps to reduce the carbon footprint of its main offices in Boston and Washington, D.C. Our Boston headquarters is now acquiring its electricity supply in partnership with Green Energy Consumers Alliance, effective January 2019. This arrangement will ensure that the electricity at our Boston buildings is 100% matched with Class 1 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Class 1 RECs are designed to ensure that dollars spent on renewable energy go towards creating new sources of renewable energy, i.e., developing renewable energy sources beyond what is already being mandated by federal and state governments. These “energy-tracking” certificates play a vital logistic role in increasing the supply of renewable energy on the New England grid, thus reducing the need for fossil fuels. Our Washington office is located in the AAAS building, which is certified as LEED Platinum. This facility is operating on 100% wind power for transmission and generation, acquired through RECs, along with a small ancillary supply of natural gas. These steps are moving AMS toward an effective 100% renewable energy use in sync with the Society’s 100th anniversary.

 

What is AMS’s position on the carbon footprint of large gatherings such as the Annual Meeting?

In general, AMS evaluates whether the objectives of a meeting agenda can be met through less resource-intensive options such as video/telephone conferences and web- based remote meetings. However, AMS acknowledges the value of in-person meetings. AMS believes that the Annual Meeting creates an environment that enhances scientific communication and collaboration in a way that is inclusive and inter-disciplinary. To extend the value of the meeting, most sessions are videotaped and the recordings are placed online.

 

What steps has AMS taken to make the Annual Meeting as environmentally friendly as possible?

The AMS Meetings Department has implemented a variety of steps in recent years to minimize the waste stream at the Annual Meeting and to maximize the opportunities for attendees to reduce their personal carbon footprints.

  • Since the introduction of the meeting app for the Annual Meeting, the number of printed programs per attendee has been reduced by 30%. This percentage is expected to increase as the meeting app grows in functionality and popularity.
  • Printed materials (i.e. conference proceedings, registration papers, photocopies, etc.) are kept to a minimum. Wherever possible, they are produced with certified recycled content that includes a high proportion of post-consumer content.  
  • Local public transportation is highlighted on the AMS website, meeting app, and final program. AMS works to have all hotels in walking distance to the convention center.
  • Venues are evaluated in part based on their environmental policies and practices.
  • The placement of recycling and composting systems with convenient and well- marked receptacles is shepherded at convention centers and hotels.
  • Receptacles for used nametag holders and printed programs are provided at convenient locations. Attendees can retrieve and reuse printed programs through the end of the meeting, when they are recycled. AMS collects nametags and lanyards and offers them for use at future conferences.
  • AMS Meetings staff work with caterers to maximize the use of locally sourced and in-season food. For example, in 2016 (New Orleans) our caterer (Centerplate) partnered with the local/regional food banks Second Helping (prepared foods) and Second Harvest (unprepared foods). The flour used in the in-house bakery at the Washington Convention Center in Seattle, which hosted the 2017 Annual Meeting, came from no-till farms in Eastern Washington.
  • Disposable material is minimized in several ways at coffee breaks and meals. No Styrofoam is used.  Disposable dishes, cutlery, straws, and stir sticks are not used for coffee breaks and meals, nor are single-portion package items (ketchup, coffee, cream, sugar etc.).  Instead, reusable china and cutlery is provided. When necessary, biodegradable tableware (i.e., made from corn/sugarcane etc.) is used and composted when feasible; supplied disposable napkins are made from recycled paper and are bleach-free.  
  • Leftover food is given away to appropriate food banks when hotels and convention centers have such a program in place.