2010 Edelman Trust Barometer Findings: Trust in Corporate America on Rise?

Julie Urlaub’s guest post on Opportunities for CEOs in 2011 made me wonder where the public stands on their trust in business after this difficult economic year. Turning to the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer I was surprised to find that global trust in business was up modestly from 2009, especially in the United States where it jumped 18 points to 54 percent.  Does this mean 2011 will be the year of corporate trust?

Not likely; according to 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer findings despite the rise globally in trust in business, the change is tenuous with nearly 70 percent of respondents saying business and financial companies will revert to “business as usual” after the recession.  Let’s hope some of these other trends persist in the new year, namely:

  • trust and transparency are as important to corporate reputation as the quality of products and services.
  • more than half of respondents globally said that “all stakeholders are equally important” in CEO’s business decisions.
  • more than 70% of respondents in the U.S., U.K. and BRIC countries say that actions such as firing non-performing managers, repaying bailout money, or reducing the pay gap between senior executives and rank and file workers would restore their trust in the company.

Echoing Julie Urlaub’s prediction that trust tops the list for CEO opportunities in 2011, Mr. Edelman stated, “CEOs who embrace this new line of business called trust have seen their credibility rise.”

Maybe if 2011 is not the year of corporate trust, it can be the year of corporate accountability.  According to CSRwire’s coverage of the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer findings, Americans are optimistic about how Corporate America will do in 2011 but their expectations for businesses next year are high. Close to 7 in 10 have higher expectations for Corporate America in 2011; 6 in 10 believe those expectations will be met.

According to the press release, asked what Corporate America’s highest priorities should be in 2011, consumers emphasized:

  • helping improve the economy and reducing unemployment
  • promoting ethical corporate behavior
  • paying back any bailout money
  • making high quality products and services that require fewer recalls
  • making fewer mistakes overall

The full executive summary, key findings and methodology of the report can be found at 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer.

Image Credit:  ell brown via Flickr under CC license.

Written by Emily DeMasi

Emily McKinin DeMasi is a 2011 MBA/ MA Public Policy candidate and Peace Corps Fellow at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her thesis work concerns Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States. She also works as a Research Fellow at Bridgeway Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in downtown Pittsburgh. Emily has worked as an Associate in a Private Equity Placement Firm in NY and as a Water and Sanitation Volunteer in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She hopes to combine her business background with her passion for development and inspire others in the fields of Sustainability and CSR.


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