Rising trust in sustainability reporting around the world

Research across 27 markets has found that trust in how companies communicate their sustainability performance has increased to 51 per cent this year, but 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 per cent.

Perceptions in Asia are most favourable, with the highest levels of agreement found in Indonesia (81 per cent), Vietnam (80 per cent), and Thailand (79 per cent). The US, Australia, Canada and the EU are at the lower end of the ratings, varying from 44 per cent in the USA to 31 per cent 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 significant rises in Germany (33 per cent, +16 points) and Spain (36 per cent, +10 points). The UK is at 42 per cent, and has gained 3 points.

Chris Coulter, CEO of GlobeScan, said: “Over the course of twenty plus years of global polling, we have seen a sea change in expectations for corporate transparency. The findings from this year’s survey suggest that companies are learning how to deliver and are being recognised for their efforts.”
Among markets surveyed in both 2016 and 2020, the highest ratings are seen for Indonesia (81 per cent, +2 points), and the lowest levels are found in Russia (29 per cent, -17 points), Argentina (30 per cent) and Germany (33 per cent, +16 points).

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