CEOs must face the declining state of public trust head on.

by Nathan Owen Rosenberg Read more from the Building an Accountable Workforce issue

Trust in the institutions that drive, govern and bind society is sinking. Click To Tweet

Around the globe, people’s faith in business, nongovernmental organizations, media and government is waning, according to Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer. One particularly sobering finding for business leaders: Only 37 percent of the global public find CEOs global trust gapcredible—an all-time low. Underscoring that number? In 13 of the 28 countries surveyed, the majority of respondents said they distrusted business altogether.

The finding is not particularly surprising given the steady stream of business leaders who made headlines for less than stellar reasons: Samsung’s Jay Y. Lee, Mylan’s Heather Bresch, Turing Pharmaceuticals’ Martin Shkreli and Arconic’s Klaus Kleinfeld, to name a few.

Yet Edelman’s CEO says this is the time for business to step up.

“We are in treacherous seas, without the firm moorings of a reliable government able to set easily understandable guideposts,” says Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman. “We have lost the objectivity and shared experience of media as a watchdog on institutions. Nongovernmental organizations are focused on issues of the most vulnerable but are ineffective advocates for the dispossessed middle class. Business needs to play the role of the solid retaining wall that stops the uncontrollable storm surge, to fill the void left by the other three institutions in global governance.”


Nathan Owen Rosenberg is a founding partner of Insigniam.

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