proving challenging for the new secretariat. The Green Chemistry Institute (GCI; Chapter XIV), on the other hand, was born out of an existing partnership, which was narrowly focused on a specific technology. Informally, this group continued to meet and discuss broader problems in the chemical industry. They reached agreement that some sort of body was needed that could quickly support activities that could advance the field of green chemistry; consequently, they established a non-profit with a governing board. However, maintaining permanent staff and leadership for the new organization proved challenging, and led GCI to seek a partnership with the American Chemical Society (ACS), a much larger and more established organization.
Several participants questioned whether or not there was a natural transition from an informal arrangement to a formalized, highly structured organization. While there is no single model that is appropriate for all partnerships, a number of lessons seemed to emerge. First, it is important to examine the goals of the partnership. A small number of partners that are focused on delivering a discrete, time-sensitive project may not find it necessary to establish an organizational framework, but larger partnerships, particularly those with open-ended membership and timeframes, will generally seek a more formal structure. This can be especially important when engaging local stakeholders. Asking them to sign in at a meeting or subscribe to an electronic mailing list is likely insufficient to keep them engaged and reduce the perceived power imbalance between large institutions and less-organized small shareholders. The Common Code for the Coffee Community acknowledged that problems in the sector require different approaches depending on geography. This convinced the partnership of the need for increasing institutionalization, but with a governance system that incorporates myriad voices.
Parallels were drawn between partnerships and start-up businesses; the latter generally have the long-term objective of being financially sustainable, which requires that they become more structured. Paradoxically, though, the energy and enthusiasm that drive a start-up venture can dissipate if it gets bogged down as it becomes formalized, and the same can be true for a partnership. It is important for a partnership to establish a governance system that is enabling without becoming a bureaucracy itself; otherwise, the effort could die under its own weight. The Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV) partnership needed to strike a delicate balance in order to maintain a dynamic quality, even as it became more formal. Partners decided to establish an executive committee that would focus on administrative issues necessary to the formalization process, while its board members continued to focus on high-level strategic issues. Another practical reason for formalizing the organization is simply that over time, leadership and participation will change. In the early stages, the founders gain an institutional knowl-