The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) enters the new year very much a global scientific society with an active professional program and membership now approaching 6000 members representing academia, business, and government. The Society's success rests on 4 global program pillars—well-attended annual meetings in Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America; the superb peer-reviewed scientific journals Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM) and Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) and catalogue of scientific books; globally recognized scientific Pellston workshops and special symposiums; and, flourishing advisory groups and associated cross-discipline dialogues. This program contributes to the high standards of excellence in science demanded by our members worldwide. Moreover, these pillars mark SETAC as a scientific society of true substance, energy, and vision. Our upcoming 6th SETAC World Congress in May 2012, in Berlin, will provide an occasion to celebrate the success of this program and its promise for the future.

Similarly important to SETAC members is the access to global regulators and decision makers that the Society's global professional program facilitates for environmental scientists, engineers and health professionals employed in the nearly 4000 applied research organizations, nongovernmental organizations, publically and privately traded companies, regulatory agencies, and universities represented in the Society. SETAC is one of the few professional organizations actively participating in 2 United Nations programs, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). SETAC supports the achievement of SAICM's goal drafted at the 2006 Doha Conference of ensuring that, by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health. IEAM has been an important platform to convey SETAC science to these and other international forums.

Last year, SETAC joined the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Global Mercury Partnership, which aims to protect human health and the global environment from the release of Hg and its compounds by minimizing and, where feasible, ultimately eliminating, global anthropogenic Hg releases to air, water, and land. SETAC is also an official observer at the negotiations on a global Mercury Convention. The Society's collaboration with the Global Environment Fund (GEF) on a survey of emerging chemical management issues in developing countries has been particularly useful. This joint work has confirmed the Society as a “go to” group for reliable, consensus-based science on potential environmental impacts. The added focus on sustainability to member discussions and activities in the Society will strengthen our position in this global debate, where new policies and approaches are being forged on behalf of a more sustainable planet.

SETAC advisory groups are increasing in number and collaborating across disciplines. Particularly encouraging in this interdisciplinary discussion and interaction are the interactions between the environmental health and human health communities. With the Rio +20 Conference in June 2012 in mind, the work of the UNEP—SETAC Life Cycle Initiative and our own global life cycle community will help bridge the interdisciplinary gaps in the sustainability work of our members. SETAC is also in touch with other leading professional societies to explore further opportunities to leverage our activities and to enhance the scientific benefits to our members.

The Berlin World Congress theme of “Sustainability” could not be more timely, given the global focus on this year's Rio +20 Conference and SETAC's own wider sustainability initiatives. SETAC's focus will be on integrating different views and disciplines, on balancing the conflicting interests of stakeholders, and on addressing societal needs of the future.

Although solutions may differ in different parts of the world, the theories behind credible solutions are global. The Society's encouragement to “think globally–act locally” is intended to kindle the imagination and creativity of members at a time when urgent solutions are needed to meet the needs of the planet's 7 billion populace. The 21st century demands a broader approach to sustainability, one drawing on the best of the range of environmental sciences and practices found in SETAC. The SETAC World Congress in Berlin will provide the ideal venue for developing a broad and credible SETAC statement on sustainability (the “Berlin Declaration on Sustainability”) and for establishing a sound theoretical approach that leads to tangible results and contributes to the global Rio +20 process and beyond. The science published in IEAM can make a significant contribution to this worldwide discussion.

As Global Executive Director of SETAC, I am excited by the numerous scientific activities scheduled around the world for the Society. And, I am proud of the continued successes and significant contributions that our workshops and seminars have made worldwide to the body of knowledge shaping our understanding of human impacts on the environment. I am also struck by the roles that IEAM and ET&C play in this endeavor and the importance of the underlying concept embodied by both publications—linking science to environmental management and decision making. Entering their 8th and 31st years of publication, respectively, both IEAM and ET&C are well established scientific forums that open up new avenues of research and inquiry for our members and provide credible scientific support for more effective decision making and environmental policy around the world. Join us in ensuring even greater success and impact this year.