Trust in Business & Institutions

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, business ranked as the only trusted institution, and trust declined overall for governments. This deterioration of trust highlights not only the role business must play in strengthening trust in democratic and market institutions, but also the need to restore trust in governments and institutions, which are essential to societal stability. Businesses play a key role in promoting an open society and accountable governance by representing the voices of a wide range of stakeholders, including employees, companies in supply chains, local communities, and customers. Just as trust in business is essential for the broader legitimacy of democratic and market systems, democracy, too, is good for business. Chambers of commerce, business associations, and other private sector organizations, such as think tanks, can be effective conveners and advocates for local-level dialogue with governments and civil society on how to chart a new path forward. 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 who have trust in public and market institutions create an avenue for democracy to thrive.   

To strengthen trust in market institutions, CIPE supports private sector institutions, businesses, and civil society organizations to define the evolving norms of responsible business conduct and implements these norms locally. This allows 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: 

  1. Efforts to strengthen trust in ensuring a constructive nature of global capital flows, business leadership, and conduct with integrity 
  2. Helping the local private sector understand and comply with emerging responsible business practices 
  3. Fostering trust in governments and institutions 

CIPE addresses these trust gaps by engaging with its partner network to inform local and global solutions and advance global norms and standards of responsible business. For example, CIPE worked with the American Chamber of Commerce Slovenia (AmCham Slovenia), the Secretariat of the American Chambers of Commerce in Europe, to promote trust in family businesses in Central and Eastern Europe. CIPE and AmCham Slovenia identified successful family business case studies and highlighted the narratives and best practices of these companies in a brochure and subsequent launch event.

CIPE also utilizes international forums to host roundtables or discussions that highlight how communities perceive the current state of trust in business and institutions, 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.