business news in context, analysis with attitude

Axios reports on the new  Edelman Trust Barometer study, which indicated that as "trust in the government is at an all-time low globally," it is accompanied by an expectation by many people that  corporations and CEOs should "continue addressing the most pressing social and political issues even after the pandemic is over."

The study concludes that "businesses are now the most trusted institution in the world, a role they assumed mid-way through the pandemic, once people realized governments were ill-equipped to develop and rollout vaccines alone."

Excerpts from the story:

•  "Globally, the majority (60%) of people say their country will not be able to overcome its challenges without business’ involvement. Across every issue measured, people say businesses have outperformed government."

•  "Most people (77%) said their employer has become their most trusted institution, which has put much more pressure on CEOs to prioritize societal and political issues in addition to business outcomes."

•  "Roughly 80% of employees, on average, expect their company to act on issues such as vaccine hesitancy, climate change, automation, misinformation, and racism."

Axios observes that "people in developed countries, like the U.S., U.K., France, Japan and Canada, are far less trusting of government compared to people in developing countries, like India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and the UAE."

The bottom line:  "While this provides opportunities for some companies to grow, it also puts more pressure on CEOs and business leaders to address more than just shareholder returns."

KC's View:

This subject makes a lot of people uncomfortable, largely because it has the potential to alienate a certain percentage of customers - not just those who disagree with the positions taken by a company, but also who disagree with the idea that companies should be getting involved in politics and culture at all.

But I do think that for many people the notion of values is at least as important as value and convenience, and they choose the companies they patronize and the products they buy based on personal evaluations of how businesses act.

Which means that business leaders have some decisions to make … though every step of the way they have to make sure they are authentic in the moves they make and the messages they send.