Public Trust in Sustainability Reporting is Rising Sharply

(Credit: GRI)

by | Oct 14, 2020

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(Credit: GRI)

Research across 27 markets has found that public trust in how companies communicate their sustainability performance has increased to a record 51% this year, with significant variations by country.

The survey from GlobeScan and GRI asked 1,000 people in each location to indicate whether they agree that companies are honest and truthful about their social and environmental performance. The level of trust is the highest since the survey began in 2003, when it was at 30%.

Perceptions in Asia are most favorable, with the highest levels of agreement found in Indonesia (81%), Vietnam (80%), and Thailand (79%). The USA, Australia, Canada, and the featured EU member states are at the lower end of the ratings, varying from 44% in the USA to 31% in France.

While the public in European and North American countries continue to indicate lower levels of agreement compared with the global average, a number of these countries have seen notable increases in perception compared to the 2016 survey, including Germany (33%, +16 pts), Spain (36%, +10 pts), Canada (38%, +8 pts), USA (44%, +5 pts), and UK (42%, +3 pts).

“It is encouraging that around the world the overall levels of trust in how companies communicate their sustainability impacts are increasing,” said Peter Paul van de Wijs, Chief External Affairs Officer at GRI. “This goes hand-in-hand with growing expectations from consumers regarding more and better reporting. At the same time, finding the featured EU member states at the low end of the rankings strongly supports the case for the thorough revision of the European non-financial reporting directive, initiated in early 2020 by the European Commission.”

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