Investors. Consumers. Employees. Suppliers. They all want—even expect—the companies they associate with to operate with transparency and trust. But lately, trust has been in short supply. In the U.S., for example, trust in institutions—government, business, media and NGOs—declined a record 23 points in the annual Edelman Trust Barometer survey, which covers 28 markets around the globe. Business alone saw a 10-point, year-over-year decline. Clearly, companies in America need to focus on rebuilding trust, but how?
Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria can play a significant role in establishing or regaining trust. What do CSR and ESG entail? CSR involves implementing a business model that includes accountability—to stakeholders and consumers—on a range of societal and environmental issues. Similarly, ESG focuses on how companies tackle key issues such as climate change and human rights, which financiers increasingly consider alongside traditional financial factors when evaluating investment portfolios.