The Development of Geoscience-related Ethics Codes

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GOLI Course cover slide for Development of Geoscience-related Ethics Codes. Image credit: AGI

This course focuses on the adoption of and changes in geoscience-related ethics codes over the years. Many geological and related engineering professional associations were founded in the 19th and early 20th centuries but ethics codes were generally not adopted until after WWII. The AAPG Code of Ethics was the first code and was adopted in 1924. Codes have changed over the years for a variety of reasons as has their organization. There are common principles in the codes like honesty, integrity, transparency, etc. Most codes also explicitly state that protection of the public's health, safety, and welfare supersedes employer/client confidentiality. Emerging additions to ethics codes include statements about harassment and discrimination, sustainable development, and global human welfare. Whether an ethics code requires enforcement procedures, the implications of enforcing an ethics code, and the characteristics of effective disciplinary procedures are reviewed.

The course presenter is David M. Abbott, Jr., AIPG Certified Professional Geologist 4570.


  • American Institute of Professional Geologists