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Using the 80/20 Rule in Indicators and Quantitative Analysis

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‘IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, you can’t manage it’, the old management adage goes. But sustainability measures such as life cycle assessments and carbon footprints are incredibly data-intensive – and thus time-consuming and expensive – and can be highly dependent on a small number of assumptions. This can lead to ‘paralysis by analysis’ where the process of measuring becomes an end in itself and stops you actually doing anything practical based on the data. ‘A pig never got fat by weighing it’ is the counter-balancing old farmers’ saying to those obsessed with data.

So what can you do to short cut the measurement process? This chapter looks at the methods you can use to measure what matters and avoid getting bogged down in the minor detail.

Materiality and significance

Most global environmental standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines and ISO14001 contain mechanisms to filter out insignificant and irrelevant issues.
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Keywords: employee engagement; green business; product design; strategy; supply chain

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2014

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