Confidence in market institutions has been trending downwards, and the global pandemic has only exacerbated concerns of trust between business, governments, and citizens. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual survey conducted globally with 34,000 respondents, less than one in five respondents believe that the system works for them and that there are imbalances among trust in key societal actors. Individuals grant trust based on competence and ethical behavior, key components of establishing the broader legitimacy of democratic and market institutions around the globe. Citizens that have trust in public and market institutions create an avenue that allows democracy to thrive.
CIPE has identified three areas that undermine trust in business: 1) non-transparent, corrosive capital flows that fuel grand corruption and exacerbate existing governance gaps; 2) corruption and other violations that occur at the company level where business leadership is not committed to upholding positive corporate values; 3) insufficient efforts by businesses to operate in a responsible manner inclusive of their communities. These challenges are interconnected, even more so due to the global health crisis, making it crucial to institutionalize norms and values that foster constructive capital flows and boost public confidence.
To strengthen trust in market institutions, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) will support private sector institutions, businesses, and civil society organizations to define the evolving norms of responsible business conduct and implement these norms locally. This will allow its global network of partners to better understand local trust gaps and identify best practices and solutions. The main areas of focus corresponding to these trust gaps are:
- efforts to strengthen trust in ensuring a constructive nature of global capital flows;
- trust in business leadership and conduct with integrity regardless of geography;
- trust in building more inclusive economies that provide opportunities for women, minorities, and traditionally disadvantaged groups.
CIPE will utilize international forums to host roundtables or discussions that highlight how communities perceive the current state of trust in business, the issues associated with lack of trust, and solutions that are already in place or can be established to bolster trust at the local level.