In contrast to the diminishing trust held in politicians, confidence in businesses remains stable. Global public relations firm Edelman said this was buoyed by the perception that businesses have made demonstrable change in the form of better products and new leadership.
"This is a profound evolution in the landscape of trust from 2009 where business had to partner with government to regain trust, to today, where business must lead the debate for change, "Richard Edelman, the president and CEO of Edelman said in a press release.
The report – published annually for the last 14 years - showed that 79 percent of respondents believe governments should not be working alone when setting policy.
"A majority of respondents believe that business can pursue its self-interest while doing good work for society. And 74 percent believe that business should be involved in formulating regulation in the energy and food industries," the report said.
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Edelman added that typically it was government that had been called upon to create the context for change but, in the eyes of respondents, it was either incapable or unwilling to do so.
"People trust business to innovate, unite and deliver across borders in a way that government can't. That trust comes with the expectation and responsibility to maintain it. Therefore, CEOs must become chief engagement officers in order to educate the public about the economic, societal, political and environmental context in which their business operates," he said.
However, he warned that businesses shouldn't commit a huge error in judgment and interpret these shifts as a chance to push for deregulation. The survey notes that people want more regulation in several industries including financial services,energy and food and beverage.
"Events of the past 12 months, including the $13 billion fine for JPMorgan and the largest-ever bankruptcy in Latin America with the failure of Eike Batista's EBX deep water oil drilling firm, coupled with the memory of the recession of 2008, have renewed concerns about business' ability to self-regulate," Edelman said.