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The world needs us to build trust through community investment

The Edelman Trust Barometer continues to offer insight on the state of trust in Canada and around the world. The idea of trust is both personal and public–something felt by each of us as individuals and more largely as demographic groups. The 2022 report (based on large global survey) continues to explore the evolving dynamics of trust between citizens, business, non-government organizations, government, and media.  

Sadly, the headline of this year’s research is that “government and media fuel a cycle of distrust” around the globe. This likely isn’t news for many people. Despite moments in the early months of the pandemic where we shared a feeling of unity and trust in health care leadership, the politicization of covid, global conflict, the rise of “fake news”, and the ongoing fallout from the Trump years continue to sow distrust. The report points to a dramatic “collapse of trust in democracies” that should concern us all. 

However, the report also highlights the opportunity for business and NGOs to break the cycle of distrust together. This is incredibly significant for those of us in the business of meaningful community investment—it is urgent validation that measurable voluntary community investments can not only strengthen community society through the direct actions of NGOs, but also broadly as we collaborate to rebuild trust in civil society.  

Edelman’s research finds that both NGOs and business are currently considered more ethical and competent than government and media. Combined with a growing public expectation for more corporate involvement in social issues, we find a significant opportunity for business (through community investment) to heal many of the wounds within our communities. Business and NGOs, together, are seen by citizens as having the ability to bring about positive societal change.  

LBG Canada members played an important role in helping the Canadian public get to this point. Through credible community investment disclosure and meaningful investment in society, our members are the ones demonstrating that business can be a force for good. Moreover, through these actions, people are starting to expect business, in partnership with citizen-serving NGOs, to heal many of the tears in our social fabric.  

This is no small task, nor should the work of building a more just society fall exclusively to business and NGOs. But, as the recent Trust Barometer shows us, the opportunity, and demand, for action remains.  

Fortunately, LBG Canada members are well-positioned to meet and exceed public expectations. The results of meaningful and credible voluntary corporate community investment are not just strengthening corporate brands and the communities in which our companies work—it now includes rebuilding trust in a world suffering from years of trust erosion in the very institutions we need to build a better world.