Another obvious survey that tells us little…

GlobeScan, the “evidenced-based strategic consultancy” company, has come out with another rather obvious set of survey results.

(Anyone know any non-evidence based consultancies, by the way?)

It’s titled: “Companies and Governments Lag NGOs in Driving Sustainability but New Corporate Leaders Emerging, According to Experts”.

The results of the survey appear to rather obvious.

One could have run this headline above five years ago, more or less.

NGOs are “doing more”, and Governments are behind. Wow.

Then the survey attempts, somehow, to compare companies in a rather simplistic way on the basis of “who is the best, according to our 1500 experts”.

There is no explanation of who these experts are.

Having been called by firms like this several times a week for years, I’m very sceptical about all this.

Only once in the 8 or so years I have been getting these weekly calls from ‘research’ firms, has a proper open-ended interview taken place.

Almost always the questions defy logical thinking and are clearly there to tick boxes.

“Would you say our client (insert any name here), is more or less sustainable than their biggest competitor”.

“Can you rank our client against these firms 1-5 please?”.

etc, etc. Sigh.

I understand why companies want this kind of information, I am just not sure that such questions deliver the results they need. The methodology is weak, to say the least.

Back to the specific GlobeScan survey, produced to promote the consultants SustainAbility.

The’ve managed to come up with a list of companies who are “corporate sustainability leaders”.

First is Interface, then GE, followed by Toyota, Wal-Mart and BP. Then the usual list of usual suspects.

I strongly suspect that is not really a list of leaders in any real sense.

It’s a list of almost exclusively Anglo-Saxon firms who are big on PR.

And in the no-doubt not-very-rigourous research undertaken for these results, the surveyed ‘experts’ probably wanted to get off the phone as fast as possible and just named the most PR heavy firms.

(Notable exceptions for Novo, Interface and Patagonia here, and perhaps M&S, though they are big on PR)

How about releasing the geographical breakdown of where these experts were located, GlobeScan?

That would be more interesting than the survey results themselves.

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