The annual Edelman Trust Barometer reveals an alarming evaporation of trust in Canada, with trust in government, media and business falling below 50%—some of the lowest levels ever seen in this country.
Business experienced the greatest decline of all, dropping 15 points to 47%—the sharpest decline of any of the 27 nations surveyed.
“This drop in trust is not entirely surprising given some of the press that business has received this past year,” said John Clinton, chair and CEO, Edelman Canada, North American head, creative and content. “From data breaches and auto recalls to significant bad press around corporations not paying interns, it’s not hard to see why trust in business has dropped as much as it has.”
Heightened cynicism over the business world’s persistent pursuit of innovation may also be hindering public trust. The barometer looked at trust and its link to innovation and found that there is “a trend toward consumer exhaustion of innovation and uncertainty about how beneficial certain recent innovations actually are.”
53% of Canadians believe innovation is happening too quickly and that it is being driven by the wrong reasons. 75% believe greed drives businesses, while only 15% believe innovation is occurring to improve the lives of consumers. These results “are much more cynical than the global numbers.”
“The lesson here is that you can no longer promote a particular innovation solely on product attributes or specs,” said Clinton. “Consumers expect changes and innovations to improve their quality of life.”
Previously a “Truster” nation, Canada’s general trust level fell seven points (53%), putting it in neutral territory internationally.
“There is a real opportunity for business to build trust in innovation by being genuinely transparent about anticipated offerings and the motives behind them, and by inviting open and sincere dialogue with stakeholders,” Clinton added. “By talking less and listening more, the outcome will be mutually beneficial.”