The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that businesses retain their position as the most trusted institution, with expectations even higher due to the government’s failure to lead during the pandemic.
By an average margin of five to one, respondents in the 28 countries surveyed want businesses to play a bigger role in addressing climate change, economic inequality, retraining the workforce and tackling climate change. racial injustice.
All stakeholders want the company to fill the void, with nearly 60% of consumers buying brands based on their values and beliefs, nearly 6 in 10 employees choose a workplace based on shared values and expect their CEO to take a stand on societal issues, and 64% of investors who seek to support companies aligned with their values.
“Business must now be the stabilizing force that delivers action and tangible results on society’s most critical issues,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman.
“Societal leadership is now a core business function.”
Business diverged even further from government, outperforming it by 53 points on competence and 26 points on ethics. More than 8 in 10 respondents want CEOs to be the face of change, to lead policy, not politics.
Germany (65%) and Canada (65%) remained the most trusted national brands, followed by Japan (59%) and the UK (58%). India (36%) and China (34%) remain the least reliable.
Inequalities must be tackled
There is a risk for companies to get so involved in social issues. More than half of respondents (52%) say capitalism is doing more harm than good in its current form and that there is now a record 15-point trust gap between high-income earners (Trust Index of 62) and people with low income (trust index of 47).
This year’s report reveals a vicious circle of mistrust fueled by the government and the media. Globally, a majority of people think journalists (67%, up 8 points) and government leaders (66%, up 9 points) lie to them, and nearly one in two respondents considers the government (48%) and the media (46%) as divisive forces in society.
“This vicious circle of mistrust threatens the stability of society,” Edelman says. “It’s a deadly grip where the media chases clicks and the government chases votes, both fueling a cycle of misinformation and division and exploiting it for commercial and political gain.”
Government was the most trusted institution in the May 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer: Spring Update. He was expected to be in the lead at the height of the pandemic, but he has since suffered a dramatic fall, dropping 13 points from 65% to 52%.
Additionally, distrust has become the default rule, with most respondents (59%) saying they tend to be suspicious until they see proof that something is trustworthy, and 64% think that people in their country do not have the capacity to have constructive and civil debates.
“To restore trust, businesses will need to pursue their societal role,” said Dave Samson, vice president of corporate affairs. “But more than that, it will require all institutions to demonstrate tangible progress and restore confidence in society’s ability to build a better future for all, focus on long-term thinking rather than short-term benefits and provide reliable and factual information.”
Other key findings from the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer include:
- Over the past decade, trust in all news sources has fallen except owned media (43%), which has increased by one point. Social media (37%) saw the biggest drop at eight points, followed by traditional media (57%) at five points and search engines (59%) at three points. Concern over the use of fake news as a weapon has reached an all-time high of 76%. The most credible source of information is communications from “My employer” (65%).
- Government officials (42%) and journalists (46%) are again the least trusted social leaders, while “My colleagues” (74%) and scientists (75%) are the most trusted.
- The political chasm in the United States shows all signs of widening, with overall confidence among Democrats (trust index of 55) 20 points higher than among Republicans (trust index of 35). The biggest gaps are in trust in the media (a 31-point gap, with Democrats at 55% versus Republicans at 24%) and government (24 points, with Democrats at 53% versus Republicans at 29% ).
- Technology (74%) was the most trusted sector, followed by education (69%) and healthcare (69%). Social media (44%) continued its decline with a drop of 2 points, solidifying its position as the least trusted sector.