2018 Edelman Trust Barometer: In Search of Truth

By Will Ludlam, General Manager, Edelman Pacific Northwest

For 18 years, the Edelman Trust Barometer has evaluated public trust in institutions (business, government, NGOs and media), countries and sectors. This year’s global study revealed that not only has public trust not recovered from recent declines, but it’s the most dramatic decline the survey has ever measured. No country saw steeper declines than the United States, with a 37-point total drop in trust across all institutions. While at the opposite end of the spectrum, China experienced a 27-point gain – more than any other country.

But despite blanket distrust, people are still searching for the truth and there is a clear reward for leaders who choose to authentically speak out on issues.

In fact, 64 percent of respondents say that CEOs should lead change rather than wait on government, with 84 percent of respondents expecting CEOs to inform conversations and policy debates on one or more societal issues. When asked about the most important responsibilities for CEOs, trust-building is job one, slightly ahead of quality, company values and stock price.

Trust is more polarized than ever – particularly along political lines – and will require leaders to take action, break the silence and communicate the facts. Working together, business, government, NGOs and media can be an agent of change.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Edelman’s Trust Barometer and how the data is applicable to your business, please contact PNWTrust@edelman.com.


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