Edelman Trust Barometer: People Trust Business, But Not Executives

Business is now seen as the only competent and ethical institution, even as CEOs are among the least-trusted institutional leaders, Edelman’s 2023 Trust Barometer finds.

In surveys around the world, business remains the most trusted institution, as perceived by 62% of respondents. Business holds a 53-point lead over government in perceptions of competence and is 30 points ahead on ethics, Edelman says.

How businesses treated workers during the pandemic and the 1,000-plus companies that left Russia after its invasion of Ukraine helped fuel a 20-point jump in perceptions of business ethics over the past three years.

Among respondents earning high incomes, average trust in societal institutions has soared to 62%, from 50% in 2012. Among respondents with low incomes, trust of institutions has risen only slightly, to 48%, from 43% in 2012.

Nearly one quarter of the countries surveyed have populations that are severely polarized, including the United States, Colombia, Argentina, South Africa, Sweden and Spain, the Trust Barometer says. Globally, nearly two thirds of survey respondents observe an unprecedented lack of civility and mutual respect in society, coinciding with people identifying themselves according to their ideology.

Among those who feel strongly about an issue, less than one third say they would help, live near or work with someone who strongly disagrees with their opinions.

In addition, 64% of all respondents say companies can help increase civility and strengthen the social fabric. But at 48%, CEOs are among the least trusted institutional leaders, just above journalists (47%) and government leaders (41%).

[Illustration credit: song_about_summer]

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