In January, Edelman published its 2023 Trust Barometer and released a staggering finding: Business is the only institution viewed as ethical and competent. Before exploring what exactly this means for business today, let’s first turn to Edelman and its barometer.
Edelman is a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organisations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. The Edelman Trust Barometer is its yearly global trust and credibility survey. Polled to over 32,000 respondents across 28 countries examining how much people trust institutions or others, this year’s theme was ‘navigating in a polarised world’. The report is published every January and covers a range of timely and important societal indicators of trust among business, media, government and NGOs. Here are our top picks from the report:
- Business is the only institution seen as competent and ethical (62 percent): it now holds a staggering 53-point lead over government in competence and is 30 points ahead on ethics.
- Economic optimism crashes: only 40% of global respondents think their families will be better off in five years – a 10-point decrease from 2022.
- Emergence of a mass-class divide: high-income earners’ average trust in institutions has soared from 50 to 62 since 2012, while low-income earners have struggled, with the trust index rising only slightly from 43 to 48.
- Polarisation is most severe when divisions become entrenched: six countries surveyed – including the U.S. – are severely polarized, and nine are at risk of severe polarisation.
- People want business to do more: people say business should do more, not less, to address issues like climate change, economic inequality and workforce reskilling.
Speaking about the results of the survey, Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman said: “The increased perception of business as ethical brings with it higher than ever expectations of CEOs to be a leading voice on societal issues”. This, he noted, brings with it a set of challenges: “On average, respondents want more societal involvement by business on issues such as climate change, economic inequality, and workforce reskilling. But business must tread carefully; more than half (52 percent) of our respondents do not believe business can avoid being politicised when it addresses contentious societal issues.”
You can read the full report here.