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Notice to IGS Members: General Assembly Voting Information

Dear IGS Member,

We look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming 12th International Conference on Geosynthetics in Rome during which we have a General Assembly of the IGS membership. The following is presented to assist you in preparing for this important meeting.

At each General Assembly the IGS membership is asked to approve annual membership subscription fees for the next four years. This is advance notice of the vote to be proposed at the General Assembly on 20th September 2023. At the same time, members will be asked to vote on changes to one section of the IGS Bylaws, concerning subscription and income.

This message sets out the background, the rules relating to voting procedures, and how you can take part. We also set out the details of the proposals, including the votes that are being endorsed and recommended by the IGS Council.


The IGS recently launched its new strategy setting out how we plan to deliver more on your behalf over the next four years and beyond. The IGS has grown substantially over the past 40 years. We are now a community of 3,000 Members, 45 Chapters and 176 Corporate Members worldwide.

We produce a popular major international event in at least one of our four regions every year, and a global International Conference every four years. We publish two highly respected journals, and a well-resourced digital library. Our Educate the Educators program is bringing geosynthetics into the curriculum in universities worldwide.

Our Technical Committees and Sustainability Committee are driving the knowledge and practice we need to effectively promote geosynthetics and help protect our industry from threats such as mis-informed regulation.

We also plan to do so much more, such as expanding our young members job shadowing program, developing an industry handbook, and a sustainability calculator to demonstrate the carbon savings from using geosynthetics. These products will support soon-to-be-initiated professional development education based on civil, geotechnical and environmental applications using geosynthetics.

This agenda requires us to re-assess our long-term financial sustainability. In recent years, we have been running at a deficit that cannot be sustained. Even without growing the IGS’ activities, we need to increase our revenue in the short term to remain sustainable.

Voting procedures including proxy votes

The votes will take place in person at the General Assembly on 20 September 2023, in the margins of the 12th International Conference on Geosynthetics in Rome.

If you wish to vote, but are unable to attend in person, you may give your proxy vote to another named Member, who must attend in person. Please note that according to IGS Bylaws, any Member attending in person may carry a maximum of one proxy vote.

In accordance with the existing Bylaws, the votes relating to membership fees require a simple majority, and amendments to the Bylaws require a 2/3 majority of the votes cast. For all votes we require a quorum of Members present or represented in the room. The quorum for General Assemblies is set at 100 voting Members.

We urge you to carefully consider the proposals below, to support them, and to vote to affirm them.

If you wish to vote by proxy please, fill out and submit the Proxy Form by no later than 22:00 UTC on 8 September 2023 to avoid any delays.

All Individual and Corporate Members who attend in person will be required to collect their voting cards from the IGS booth in Rome, no later than 18:00pm CET on 19 September 2023.

Votes relating to subscription fees

The IGS Council has been working to set the long-term financial sustainability of the Society. The Council has concluded that it has become necessary to change our annual membership fees. The Council proposes to raise Corporate annual fees to US$2,500 from their current level of US$1,000 starting from January 2024. We have communicated directly to our Corporate Members regarding this increase.

The Council also proposes to change subscription fees for individual Members, whether you join via a Chapter, or directly (for example if there is no Chapter in your country).

Currently, if you are a Member of a Chapter, US$30 of your Chapter fee is transferred to the IGS, to fund the many services we provide.

The Council proposes to raise individual Member annual fees from US$30 to US$40, starting from January 2024.

This is the first increase in 40 years and reflects the fact that the IGS provides so much more than it provided when it was established in 1983.

This increase will not be felt everywhere, immediately.

The Council is proposing to freeze the individual fees at their current level of US$30 for Members in Non-High Income Countries (as defined by the World Bank’s ratings), which account for over 40% of our membership. In practice, this covers members in Africa, almost all Latin America, some in Europe and some in Asia.

In line with current practice, where an individual IGS Member chooses to join directly, despite being in a country with an IGS Chapter, they will pay a premium rate.

Additionally, the Council proposes that it be mandated to maintain the fiscal health of the IGS from year to year, and to approve, if necessary, annual increases in fees in the years between General Assemblies, in order to ensure we are covering our costs, as a result of inflation and/or increased activities on your behalf.

These increases are not automatic, and wherever possible, the IGS’s preferred approach will be to keep costs down, and to increase revenue by growing IGS membership, and/or growing revenue by producing IGS programs such as the new professional development courses. Any percentage increases approved by the Council must be no more than the limit set by a membership vote at the General Assembly.

The proposals to be voted on at the 12th ICG in Rome are:

1. To approve the following annual membership fees for IGS Corporate Members with effect from January 2024:

  • US$2,500 for each Corporate Member
  • IGS Council to have discretion to increase fees annually no more than 5%

2. To approve the following annual membership fees for IGS Members with effect from January 2024:

  • US$40 for Members who join via a Chapter
  • US$40 for Members who join directly in countries with no existing Chapter
  • US$60 for Members who choose to join directly in countries with an existing Chapter
  • A 40% discount for Members in “Non-High Income Countries”, with a minimum of US$30 (same as now)
  • IGS Council to have discretion to increase fees annually, no more than 3%

Vote relating to Bylaw amendments

The IGS Council has been working on updating Section 5 of the IGS Bylaws. This section relates to “Subscription and Income” and the changes are necessary to update our subscription model.

Below you will find:

  • a document detailing the changes and the reasons for them
  • the new proposed Section 5 of the Bylaws
  • the existing text for Section 5

The IGS Council has recently considered each proposed change and voted on them. All the changes were accepted by the Council by an overwhelming majority. The Council will ask the membership to vote on the proposed changes as a package. This is because some changes are inter-dependent and if one clause were accepted and another rejected, the Bylaws as a whole could become inconsistent and therefore unworkable.

Some of the changes have been made to bring the Bylaws up to date, or to reflect current practice, or are minor. Some changes are substantive, and these are as follows:

  • delete the provision to charge a “sign on” fee to new Members, to remove this barrier to membership growth;
  • introduce the option for the General Assembly to set variable (lower) membership rates in some countries to encourage new membership in those regions where geosynthetics manufacture and use are growing, but where the cost of membership in US Dollars may be a barrier to joining or remaining a Member;
  • introduce the option for the IGS Council to increase, or freeze, membership fees on an annual basis, in order to ensure financial sustainability. Any such annual increases would be strictly limited to a maximum percentage rate, which is set by the membership at a General Assembly every four years.

Please note that while the IGS Bylaws create the parameters for setting rates, the actual fees and any discounts or premium rates will continue to be set by a vote of the IGS Members at an IGS General Assembly. Votes on IGS membership fee parameters will remain valid until the next General Assembly, normally every four years.

Proposed Bylaw Changes

On behalf of the IGS Council, I urge you to carefully consider these proposals, to support them and to vote to affirm them.


Samuel R. Allen