NEWS18 January 2017

Business ‘best placed to rebuild trust in the system’

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GLOBAL — People’s trust in the institutions of media, government, business and NGOs has fallen in the past year, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, which also suggests that business could be best placed to rebuild trust in the system as a whole. 

Hands of trust_crop

The report is based on an online survey of 33,000 respondents in 28 countries. Over half ( 53%) of those surveyed felt that the system was failing them; 32% were uncertain and 15% believed it was working. 

The largest issues of concern were corruption ( 40%), immigration ( 28%), globalisation ( 27%), eroding social values ( 25%) and the pace of innovation ( 22%). 

While trust in all four institutions had declined, media saw the sharpest fall with a drop of five percentage points to 43%. Trust in government declined by one point to 41%. 

And while trust in NGOs and business also declined, by two percentage points to 53 and one percentage point to 52% respectively, business (described as being ‘on the brink of distrust') was seen as the only one that can make a difference. Three in four respondents believed that a company can take actions to increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.

"With the fall of trust, the majority of respondents now lack full belief that the overall system is working for them," the introduction to the report said. "In this climate, people’s societal and economic concerns, including globalisation, the pace of innovation and eroding social values, turn into fears, spurring the rise of populist actions now playing out in several Western-style democracies.

"To rebuild trust and restore faith in the system, institutions must step outside of their traditional roles and work toward a new, more integrated operating model that puts people — and the addressing of their fears — at the centre of everything they do."

Full findings can be found here.