Networks as forms of organisation and as analytical categories have become an increasingly important phenomenon. Although much effort has been devoted to classifying different networks (or categories of networks) (see Borgatti and Foster 2003) and understanding their effectiveness, much of the work has been undertaken in the field of organisational management. Much less attention has been given to the emergence of networks within the field of environmental management. In this chapter we begin to rectify the situation by exploring the work of the Global Footprint Network (GFN). GFN has quickly established itself as ‘the’ partner network for the global Ecological Footprint community. The network is relatively young (founded in 2002 and launched the following year), and it is timely to review the experiences of GFN and to identify some of the challenges that it may face in the future. The chapter is organised as follows. In the section below we outline the key goals and values held by GFN, and those activities it has developed to promote and facilitate the uptake of the Ecological Footprint by lead institutions across the world. Here we also describe the structure of the network including its partnerships. In the following section we highlight why the standardisation of the Ecological Footprint has been so important for GFN and what it may mean for its partners, and what standardisation means for its use in policy circles.
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