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Global Trust in NGOs Falling

6 February 2015 at 12:16 pm
Xavier Smerdon
Global trust in Non-Government Organisations is falling and Australia is not immune, according to a major report.

Xavier Smerdon | 6 February 2015 at 12:16 pm


Global Trust in NGOs Falling
6 February 2015 at 12:16 pm

Global trust in Non-Government Organisations is falling and Australia is not immune, according to a major report.

The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed 33,000 people from 27 countries from October to November 2014.

The results, released today, showed that for the first time since the Global Recession in 2009, trust had fallen in the four main institutions of society: Government, business, media and NGOs.

Trust in NGOs had fallen for only the second time since the survey was launched in 2001, but it still remained the most trusted institution.

Australian participants in the survey joined people from 18 other countries where trust in NGOs fell from 2014 to this year.

In 2014 70 per cent of people said they trusted NGOs, while this year that figure had dropped to 66 per cent.

The largest drop in levels of trust by far was in the United Kingdom, where the figure went from 67 per cent to 51 per cent in just one year.

In only nine countries was there an increase in trust in NGOs, with Poland seeing an increase of 11 per cent from 47 to 58.

People from the United Arab Emirates had the largest level of trust in NGOs, 81 per cent, overall.


NGOs still made up the most trusted institution in Australia, with Government, Business and Media all slumping to 49 per cent, 48 per cent, and 43 per cent respectively.

CEO of Edelman, Richard Edelman, said it was understandable why people had started to lose trust in the four main institutions.

“There has been a startling decrease in trust across all institutions driven by the unpredictable and unimaginable events of 2014,” Edelman said.

The spread of Ebola in West Africa; the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, plus two subsequent air disasters; the arrests of top Chinese Government officials; the foreign exchange rate rigging by six global banks; and numerous data breaches, most recently at Sony Pictures by a sovereign nation, have shaken confidence.”

The survey also found that one of the top 16 ways that businesses, Government and media could build trust in the future was to partner with NGOs to address societal needs.

Almost 30 per cent of Australian respondents said they thought this kind partnership was important but only 14 per cent felt that it it was being done effectively at the moment.

A majority of Australians surveyed, 53 per cent, also said that they felt innovation within Australia was happening too fast, while only 20 per cent thought innovation was happening at the right pace.

“The pace of change has never been faster and innovation has become an even greater imperative for business success,” Edelman said.

“Innovation should be a trust accelerator, but today it is not. To invent is no longer enough. There must be a new compact between company and individual, where companies demonstrate that innovations are safe based on independent research, provide both societal and personal benefit and are committed to the protection of customer data.”

Edelman said a significant proportion of those surveyed included informed individuals, which identified as people that were university educated, had a household income in the top quartile for their age, read or watched business or news media at least several times a week and followed public policy issues several times per week.

The remainder of the respondents came from the general online population.

The full report can be found here.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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