ISIN International Sustainability Indicators Network
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History of ISIN
More About ISIN
History of ISIN
ISIN Organizational Structure
Work Groups
Advisory Board
ISIN was established following a May 2001 forum called 'Indicators of Opportunity,' organized by the Rocky Mountain Institute and dedicated to the memory of Dana Meadows, founder of the Sustainability Institute. (For proceedings, see the "library" link at Rocky Mountain Institute's web site at At the forum, more than 35 individuals working on sustainability indicators came together to discuss their work, get feedback from others, share ideas and experience and generally to learn from each other. At the conclusion of the forum, the group identified the need for a more formalized network that would allow similar exchanges on an ongoing basis. The intention was to style the network on Donella Meadow's vision that:
"A network is nonhierarchical. It is a web of connections among equals. What holds it together is not force, obligation, material incentive, or social contract, but rather shared values and the understanding that some tasks can be accomplished together that could never be accomplished separately. One of the important purposes of a network is simply to remind its members that they are not alone."
- D.H. Meadows, Beyond the Limits
The network would serve to coordinate communication among practitioners and increase the visibility of best practices related to sustainability indicators.
At the end of the meeting, participants identified a number of different topics related to sustainability indicators that they wanted to continue to discuss. It was decided to create Work Groups that would meet individually on an ongoing, independent basis, based on the interests and availability of the members of the group. One Work Group was established specifically to move ISIN from a good idea to an active network.
In the summer of 2001, a start up grant was received from the Hewlett Foundation to organize the network and hold an initial meeting of the newly formed Work Groups. Several participants from the RMI meeting agreed to serve on an advisory committee to help establish the network. In November 2001, the first official meeting of the Work Groups was held in Essex, Massachusetts and the International Sustainability Indicators Network was born.
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