Businesses trust most in a more polarized world, report says

LONDON – People worldwide are more gloomy about their economic prospects In an increasingly divided world, companies trust companies more than ever before, and far more than other institutions such as governments, nonprofits and the media, according to a survey by public relations firm Edelman.

The online poll, conducted in 28 countries and released late Sunday to coincide with the meeting of business elites and government leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, shows fewer people believe their families will be better off five years from now.

Those who believe they will be better off have fallen from 50% last year to 40%, hitting all-time lows in 24 countries. Because 89% are afraid of losing their job, 74% fear of inflation76% worry climate change and 72% worry about nuclear war.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 62% of respondents view companies as both competent and ethical, compared to 59% of NGOs, 51% of governments and 50% of the media. This has been attributed to how companies were treating workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and how many others were returning to offices Companies promising to leave Russia After that invaded Ukraine.

People still said they distrusted CEOs, as well as government leaders and journalists, while trusting their own executives, employees and neighbors. Scientists were trusted the most – by 76% of respondents.

“Increased confidence in business means higher than ever expectations for CEOs to be a leading voice on societal issues,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “Six to one, respondents would like to see more corporate societal involvement on issues such as climate change, economic inequality and reskilling the workforce.”

But companies face fierce arguments when addressing these issues, with 52% saying companies cannot avoid politicization when addressing divisive social issues, he said.

Despite the uncertainty, people want companies to advocate for them: 63% say they buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values.

Most respondents say companies should be doing more, not less, to deal with climate change, economic inequality and other issues.

This is due to the fact that social divisions have become entrenched, create a polarized world That has left people feeling like they can’t overcome their differences or even be willing to help others who don’t share their beliefs, the survey said.

Less than a third of respondents said they would help, live or work with someone who strongly disagreed with their views. Six countries – Argentina, Colombia, the US, South Africa, Spain and Sweden – were listed as highly polarized, driven by distrust of government and a lack of a shared identity.

If divisions are not addressed, people fear the result will worsen prejudice and discrimination, slower economic development and violence in the streets, the report said.

More than 40% of respondents believe governments and business must work together to solve social problems, with the responsibility lying on the most trusted institution – business – to bring people together.

Most respondents – 64% – said that companies that support politicians and media building consensus would help increase civility and strengthen society.

In its 23rd year, the Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed more than 32,000 people online from November 1-28 in 28 countries from Argentina to Saudi Arabia to the United States.


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Sarah Y. Kim

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