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Trust in business continues to rise

May 20, 2021, 10:10 AM UTC

Good morning.

Public trust in business around the world remains high, according to the latest release of the Edelman Trust Barometer, out this morning. (CEO Daily got an early peek.) But high trust comes with high expectations. And satisfying those expectations won’t be easy.

The survey, which was taken the first week in May and included almost 17,000 people in 14 countries, found trust in business had risen from the first poll of the year, boosted by the pandemic experience, and remained higher than trust in NGOs, government, or the media. “My employer” ranked even higher than business in general. Majorities in every country agreed that “our country will not be able to overcome our challenges without business involvement.” Upwards of 30% in each country said the pandemic “has led me to believe this is true.”

Employees expect their employers to take action on a variety of pressing social problems. Top of the list were vaccine hesitancy (84%), climate change (81%), automation (79%), the “infodemic” (79%), and racism (79%).  Respondents were less enthusiastic about CEOs getting involved in “political issues.” In the U.S. and India, in particular, more people said CEOs were “too involved” in political issues than said they were “not involved enough.”

“Business must lead on areas of comparative advantage—retraining, skills development, innovation—and it must continue to take meaningful action on societal issues from sustainability to racial justice, starting with getting its own house in order,” wrote CEO Richard Edelman.  “But it must resist the temptation to be the A student doing all the work on the group project because Government is slacking. As in The Odyssey, Business must steer a course between the Scylla of complacency and the Charybdis of over-reach. Navigating these roiling waters will surely require adjustments and course corrections, but there is no time to waste to help a shaken world regain its bearings.”

You can read the full Edelman report here. More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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