Governance of the ISDRS

Governance of the ISDRS

The official name of the organisation is the International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS),  registered in Hong Kong in 2006 and in Noway in 2011. At the time of its first registration ISDRS was built on a 13-year tradition of successful International Sustainable Development Research conferences originally in the UK. We are continuing this tradition and organise yearly conferences under the ISDRS flag, with in 2023 the 30th conference in row.

We generate and disseminate knowledge and educate others about sustainable development. Topic groups arranged around clusters of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide state of the art information, enable knowledge transfer and promote debate about knowledge development and application during and between the annual conferences and other activities.

Objectives of the Society

  • To generate research and knowledge about sustainable development.  As a research society, we have an obligation to facilitate the work of those who labour to create new knowledge regarding sustainable development, as broadly defined.
  • To disseminate knowledge about sustainable development.  Consistent with knowledge generation, the Society also obligates itself to the task of spreading knowledge worldwide for the benefit of those with a similar interest.
  • To educate others about sustainable development.  Sustainable development places multiple and urgent demands upon global and local societies who will eventually determine the degree to which the Earth’s resources are sustained.  Thus, the ISDRS feels compelled to become involved in the practical work of sustainable development.
  • To establish an information exchange for sustainable development.  Given the proliferation of sustainability entities and venues, the Society will strive to provide a coordinating role for linking all these efforts together.

The ISDRS is governed by the Executive Board and Board of Directors.


The ISDRS governs itself at three distinct levels: Green members, Board of Directors, and the executive committee constituted by the elected officers (i.e. executive board members).

Green members elect new members to serve on the Board for a period of three years. Green members, with at least 2 years of membership, are eligible to be nominated for a board position.

The Board of Directors consists of 13-21 members coming from as wide a geographic and discipline range as practical. Board members will be able to stand for re-election twice (unless elected to executive office). Board member are elected by the Green members for periods of 2 years.

The Presidency includes the Assistant, President, vice President and past President, the Executive Board includes the President, a Vice-President, an Executive Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Director for Communications. These shall be elected by and report to the Board as requested. In cases of behavioural misconduct, the Board has the sole power to remove an officer from her or his function by a vote of two-thirds of its voting members.

The primary responsibilities of the Board of Directors and its members are:

  • To select the site for the annual meeting of the Society;
  • To elect the Board officers (Executive Committee), who must be existing members of the Board;
  • To approve the annual and special reports of the Executive Secretary;
  • To approve the annual and special reports of the President;
  • To conduct the business of the Society in matters not delegated to the Executive Committee or an ad hoc committee;
  • To abide by its own decisions, whether from an physical or virtual meeting;
  • To establish an Audit Committee whose function is to oversee the finances of the ISDRS and online voting processes, this committee shall be formed by at least two Board Members, Officers are not allowed to join this committee;
  • To approve the annual and special reports of the Treasurer and the Audit Committee.

More details can be read in the 2020 ISDRS Charter and By-Charter


The Society was founded by Professor Richard Welford, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, Thailand and Dr. Jouni Korhonen. At the time of establishment Richard Welford was an acting professor at University of Hong Kong and Jouni Korhonen was a Research Professor at the University of Tampere. The founding of the Society was announced at the 2005 conference in Helsinki, Finland, and formally launched at the 2006 conference in Hong Kong.

Since 2011 the Society was organised as a member-based organisation and activities additional to the annual conferences are developed.

Click here to view the governance of the ISDRS