Major companies are being increasingly measured by the public positions they take on social issues, by both consumers and employees. According to the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer report, a company’s ethical positions are three times more important to building trust with consumers than competence.
And the vast majority of employees surveyed, across 28 countries, want their CEOs to be catalysts of positive social change, with income inequality, diversity, climate change and immigration topping issues of significance to employees.
This comes as low trust in government and media persists, particularly in developed countries. Out of the four institutions measured — government, business, media and NGOs — only business was seen as competent by survey respondents. This perception lends to increased pressure on companies to take the lead in positive change where governments are failing.