Amsterdam/Toronto, 14 October 2020 – Research across
27 markets has found that 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 percent in the USA to 31
percent 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 2016, including Germany (33%, +16 pts), Spain (36%, +10
pts), Canada (38%, +8 pts), USA (44%, +5 pts) and UK (42%, +3 pts).
Peter Paul van de Wijs is Chief External Affairs Officer at
GRI, which provides the world’s most widely used sustainability
reporting standards. He said:
“It is encouraging that around the world the overall levels of trust
in how companies communicate their sustainability impacts are
increasing. 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.
Mandating the reporting of comprehensive, comparable and assured data
– using globally accepted standards, such as provided by GRI – is
needed if we want to maintain the momentum and progress further.”
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 recognized for
their efforts. Systematic standards like GRI have more than helped.
Accurate reporting has become foundational for any effective
Among countries surveyed in both 2016 and 2020, the highest ratings
are seen for Indonesia (81%, +2 pts), China (73%, -7 pts), and India
(73%, +14 pts). The lowest levels are found in Russia (29%, -17 pts),
Argentina (30%, no change) and Germany (33%, +16 pts).
A representative online survey took place in June 2020 with
approximately 27,000 adults (1,000 in each of 27 countries). The global
variations in levels of trust reflect a multitude of factors, including
social and cultural, that contribute to how people form perceptions of
The countries surveyed were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada,
China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Indonesia, Japan,
Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa,
South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United
States, and Vietnam.
GlobeScan is an insights and
strategy consultancy, focused on helping clients build long-term
trusting relationships with their stakeholders. Offering a suite of
specialist research and advisory services, we partner with business,
NGOs and governmental organizations to meet strategic objectives across
reputation, sustainability and purpose.
Global Reporting Initiative
(GRI) is the independent, international organization that helps
businesses and other organizations take responsibility for their
impacts, by providing them with the global common language to report
The GRI Standards
are the world’s most widely used and comprehensive sustainability
reporting standards, which are developed through a multi-stakeholder
process and made available as a free public good.