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Update: Public Trust Is Recovering

Submitted by: World Economic Forum

Categories: Business Ethics

Posted: Mar 31, 2004 – 11:00 PM EST


Global Tracking Survey Reveals Trust in Global Companies at Pre-Enron Levels

Mar. 31 /CSRwire/ - Geneva, Switzerland - A recently completed 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.

Following up on the TRUST theme of its Annual Meeting 2003 in Davos, the World Economic Forum is today releasing 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 organizations (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.

Commenting on the poll's findings, Michel Ogrizek, Managing Director, Head of Communications at the World Economic Forum, said, "At our Annual Meeting 2003 in Davos, the Forum chose TRUST as our theme because we saw what we called "the public trust deficit" as a worrying and urgent challenge. 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, 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. Corporate responsibility initiatives and public-private partnerships can play key roles."

Doug Miller, President of GlobeScan, underscored this point by adding, "Trust is the single largest driver of public attitude on a whole range of issues from globalization to terrorism to the role of governments. Trust also is a prime driver of corporate and country brands. As goes trust, so goes the world."

These findings are based on a global poll involving a total of 19,000 in-person or telephone interviews with citizens across 20 countries (n = 1,000 in most countries), that was conducted between November 2003 and February 2004 by respected research institutes in each participating country under the leadership of GlobeScan Incorporated (formerly Environics International).

Note to Editors:
Full results of the survey (data and tables) can be downloaded from the World Economic Forum's website at http://www.weforum.org/trustsurvey2004.
Contact our media department for more information at public.affairs@weforum.org

GlobeScan Inc. (formerly Environics International)
http://www.GlobeScan.com with offices in Toronto and London, is a global public opinion and stakeholder research firm providing quantitative metrics and strategic counsel on key trends and emerging issues. More detailed coverage of the research presented in this release will be included in GlobeScan's 2004 Global Issues Monitor report available by subscription.

The World Economic Forum is the foremost global community of business, political, intellectual and other leaders of society committed to improving the state of the world.

Incorporated as a foundation, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. The Forum has NGO consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. (http://www.weforum.org)

For more information, please contact:

Doug Miller GlobeScan Inc. (formerly Environics International)
Phone: +44 (0)20 7376 0906


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