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Public Trust in Global Companies Recovering

26 May 2004 at 1:05 pm
Staff Reporter
A recent global public opinion poll reveals that trust in global companies and national governments has rebounded to levels not seen since the start of 2001.

Staff Reporter | 26 May 2004 at 1:05 pm


Public Trust in Global Companies Recovering
26 May 2004 at 1:05 pm

A recent global public opinion poll reveals that trust in global companies and national governments has rebounded to levels not seen since the start of 2001.

The poll also reveals that public trust in the United Nations is as high today as it was in August 2002, prior to the diplomatic breakdown over Iraq and is at Pre-Enron Levels

The World Economic Forum has released the results of tracking research on public trust levels conducted by GlobeScan Incorporated (formerly Environics International).

This research, updating identical questions on polls conducted in August 2002 and December 2000, reveals the following:

– Trust levels for global companies, while still very low, are now at or above where they were in December 2000 (prior to the Enron scandal) in 13 of the 18 countries for which comparable data is available.
– Trust levels for national governments have similarly rebounded. In 11 of the 17 countries for which comparable data is available, the national government today enjoys the same or greater public trust as in December 2000, well before the events of 11 September 2001.
– In none of the countries surveyed has trust in the United Nations declined by a statistically significant margin from the high levels it enjoyed in August 2002, in spite of the intervening diplomatic breakdown over the invasion of Iraq.

Consistent with previous research, the current poll shows that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are the most trusted and global companies are the least trusted of the seven institutions tested.

The United Nations comes second to NGOs across the countries surveyed, followed by national governments in the middle range.

In Australia only 3% of participants said they have ‘a lot of trust’ in global companies operating here while 37% said they had ‘some trust’. (US 3%and 47% and Canada 3% and 50% respectively)

Commenting on the poll’s findings, the Head of Communications at the World Economic Forum, Michel Ogrizek says that in 2003, the Forum chose TRUST as its theme because it saw what it called “the public trust deficit” as a worrying and urgent challenge.

Ogrizek says the fact that trust in global companies has rebounded to pre-Enron levels and trust in governments has returned to pre-September 11 levels suggests that important progress has been achieved.

However, he says companies and governments cannot be cheered by simply returning to historically low levels of trust. Further, rebuilding public trust must continue to pre-occupy leaders in both business and public life and corporate responsibility initiatives and public-private partnerships can play key roles.

Doug Miller, President of GlobeScan, says trust is the single largest driver of public attitude on a whole range of issues from globalisation to terrorism to the role of governments. Trust also is a prime driver of corporate and country brands.

The survey findings are based on a global poll involving a total of 19,000 in-person or telephone interviews with citizens across 20 countries conducted between November 2003 and February 2004 by respected research institutes in each participating country under the leadership of GlobeScan Incorporated (formerly Environics International).

If you would like a copy of the full survey results send us an email with Trust Surveys in the subject line to

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