The EcoPort Foundation
Why are the various levels of governance necessary?
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Questions, comments and suggestions: t.putter@ecoport.org

An enterprise needs a management layer responsible for its day-to-day operation. This is EcoPort's 'Executive' layer under the leadership of a Chief Executive officer, CEO. The number of staff engaged will determine the quantitative size of the Foundation's Executive, but qualitatively, management and administration is an obviously indispensable layer.

Especially during the last two years, it has become very clear that the supervisory role played by a governing Board must be separated from the management/executive function, and, specifically, that the CEO must be appointed by, and responsible to, the Board, hence, the EcoPort Foundation has a Board supervising the work of an Executive. Supervision and oversight thus emerges as an equally indispensable layer.

As a Membership-based entity, the Members are the enterprise's bedrock layer who elect the Board to appoint and supervise the Executive.

Given the global scope of EcoPort's subject matter, the twin, core aspects of content and technology and the global scope of its geographical coverage, it is deemed essential for the foundation to have the freedom and authority in its constitution to appoint standing committees to investigate key issues and develop guiding papers to inform the Foundation's strategies. Technical committees are essential to shape the ecological and subject-level directions of the Foundation's work; as is a Technology Committee to guide the strategies required to optimise the Foundation's IT infrastructure. Finances and fund-raising and a few other Committees are obvious structures required to manage a global enterprise, as is, indeed, the inherent, constitutional authority to create new committees as and when necessary.

The last, and novel component of the Foundation's structure is the Technical Advisory Council which will not be an elected entity, but which will have a role at the same level as the Board to serve a 'watchdog' and 'guiding' function in policy matters. This Council will be objective inasmuch as it will not be elected, and it will represent the global dimensions of the Foundation's idealistic aspirations as opposed to the sectoral, subject-matter based interests of Members, the Board members they elect, and the Executive managers who do what the members want. In contrast, the Council will be able to state, what a global public good should be doing. Please see the relevant sections of the EcoPort Foundation's organigram on the Foundation home page and study the descriptions of the various units there.