Figures Lie and Liars Figure is more about data manipulation than it is lying.

July 23rd, 2009

This famous old saying applies all of the time to industry and other surveys relative to how the data is reported or sometimes manipulated.

This famous old saying applies all of the time to industry and other surveys relative to how the data is reported or sometimes manipulated.

The above happens all of the time relative to environmental reports. Let’s look at an example I noticed in USA TODAY the July 22nd addition.

The following was reported by Anne R. Carey and Gwen Saunders of USA TODAY in Snapshots®. The title was “What we’d give up to save the environment”. The source of the survey is the Shelton Group for ECO Pulse online survey of 1,006 adults taken April 17th – May 1st of 2009.

What Items people would give up if they thought they were hurting the environment?

1. iPod 42%
2. Dishwasher 38%
3. Microwave 28%
4. Cell phone 23%
5. Air conditioning 16%
6. TV 14%
7. Computer 8%

Now, here is the rub, and we see it all of the time in the procurement process when speaking with suppliers and other companies relative to their green practices. When asking questions if you do not probe properly, the answers you receive are apt to be very misleading. By way of example, if one asks a supplier if they are SQF certified? The simple answer might be yes. What this does not uncovers who at the company holds this certification, if they are still in a job where the certification matters, if they are still with the company, if the certification is current or what level of certification they have on file. Without probing properly, the answer may just be greenwashing in order to put a check in that box. As we discussed in yesterdays post, the proof is actually in the pudding and the pudding is created by having all of the proper ingredients in place. Think detail, detail, and detail.

So, just for fun let’s look at the above survey stated in a different way or turned upside down.

What items would you not be willing to give up even if you knew they were hurting the environment? By the way we will be passing this environment on to our children and our children’s children.

1. iPod 58%
2. Dishwasher 62%
3. Microwave 72%
4. Cell phone 77%
5. Air conditioning 84%
6. TV 86%
7. Computer 92%

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

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