Member Code of Conduct

Introduction

The AEGN is a network for funders. We work with grantmakers to achieve our goal of a world where people and nature thrive. Our members are trusts, foundations and donors with an interest in the environment.

Our values are to be:

  • ethical in all that we do;
  • respectful of our partners, practitioners, experts and each other;
  • collaborative in the way that we work and recognise outcomes;
  • inspiring in our activities and outreach;
  • sustainable in our day-to-day work;
  • ambitious in our programming;
  • focused on our strategy;
  • innovative in our thinking.

We seek to provide our members with:

  • a safe and trusted space where funders can come together to learn and share without solicitation for funding or pressure to fund in a particular way;
  • an open, generous, supportive and respectful place for knowledge-sharing, exploring and encouragement;
  • a welcoming culture that embraces inclusion, generosity, diverse backgrounds and different political views and approaches to change.

We recognise that many of our members have roles beyond that of funder — they are businesspeople, board members of other organisations, activists, consultants, employees and more.


Purpose

The purpose of this Code is to help AEGN members define their role within the AEGN in order to foster a network of funders that upholds the values of the AEGN and provides a forum that nurtures and inspires environmental giving.


Member behaviour guidelines

The AEGN has been created as a space to foster open and trusted sharing of information about environmental philanthropy. Given this context, when you engage with the network we ask that you do so in your role as a funder. While other roles that you hold may influence or inform your views and funding choices, it is your perspective as a funder that you are invited to share with other members via AEGN forums.

When engaging with the network, we also ask that you seek to be:

  • supportive of different approaches to achieving change and of different areas of funding interest;
  • respectful of individual privacy by maintaining confidentiality of members’ personal details, funding and views;
  • non-partisan — the AEGN network is a broad church. Members may wish to comment on policies and the outcomes these deliver but we discourage commentary on party politics;
  • ethical and honest;
  • transparent – in order to maintain the nature of the AEGN as a trusted, open and honest space we ask that you declare when you or an organisation you are involved with could benefit from information you share with the network.

Confidentiality

Information obtained via the AEGN network

Members share personal information about themselves, their funding and their views with the AEGN network on the understanding that this will not be used for purposes beyond furthering environmental philanthropy amongst funders.

When you receive personal or private funding information via the AEGN network we require that you do not:

  • Use this information for any purpose that does not relate to philanthropy
  • Share this information with a non-AEGN member unless that person intends to use the information to further their philanthropy.
  • Share this information with a non-government organisation, wealth advisor, business or other entity without the permission of the member in question.

Conflict of interest

Information shared with the AEGN network

While we ask that you interact with the AEGN network primarily in your role as a funder, we recognise that there may be times when you wish to share information, projects or views that have been informed through your involvement with other organisations. In this situation, you should be guided by the following conflict of interest guidelines.

The AEGN defines three types of conflict of interest in this Code:

  • direct financial conflict — where you or a family member could benefit financially through sharing information which benefits business or other financial interests;
  • indirect financial conflict — where you or a family member are involved with an organization* in a paid capacity, for example as staff member, paid consultant or board member, and the organisation could benefit through information being shared;
  • non-financial or personal role conflict — where you or a family member have a formal role with an organization* in an unpaid capacity, for example as Chair, board person or advisor, and the organisation could benefit through the information being shared.

*Organisations which are philanthropic trusts, foundations or sub-funds are not included in this provision.

Where you face a direct or indirect financial conflict of interest, we require that you do not share a project or other information with AEGN members via the AEGN network.

Where you face a non-financial or personal role conflict of interest, you are required to disclose the role conflict at the time that the information is shared with AEGN members via the AEGN network.

If at any time you are uncertain about whether there is a conflict of interest or whether information you wish to share with the network is appropriate, we encourage you to contact the AEGN and discuss this with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or other AEGN staff member.


Representing the AEGN

As a membership organisation, the AEGN encompasses the broad range of views of its members. When members speak publicly as AEGN representatives, they should be mindful to reflect that our membership holds diverse opinions on what constitutes effective environmental funding, which organisations and policies are best placed to deliver environmental change, and on environmental matters more generally.

To adequately represent these broad views, public comment on behalf of the AEGN is made only by the CEO, the Chair or those expressly authorised by the CEO or Chair to speak on a particular matter.

We ask that you do not speak on behalf of the AEGN in public forums or to the media unless the CEO has specifically asked that you do so or has otherwise approved the material you intend to present.


Process

The Member Code of Conduct has been prepared in consultation with the AEGN Board’s Governance sub-committee and with a group of AEGN members.

This Code will be available on the AEGN website and shared with new members.

We understand that the role of the AEGN and members’ roles within the network are nuanced and can sometimes be unclear. If at any time you have questions about what is appropriate under the Member Code of Conduct, please do not hesitate to seek guidance from the AEGN CEO or senior staff member.

Where any matters that arise in relation to the Member Code of Conduct are complex or unclear, the CEO may refer them to the AEGN Board’s Governance sub-committee for resolution.

We hope that this Code provides members with clear guidance and standards of behaviour for engaging with the AEGN network to foster the open, honest, trusted and welcoming exchanges that underpin knowledge-sharing and collaborative funding, building more and more effective philanthropy.

Where a member has behaved in a way that is inconsistent with the Code, the CEO will work with the member to rectify the situation.

If a member ignores guidance around the Code, the AEGN Board will communicate with them and seek to find a resolution. Where this is not possible and approaches to find a mutually satisfactory solution have been unsuccessful, it may be determined that membership of the AEGN should be cancelled.