PwC survey: Consumers want accountability, not ESG data Fast CompanyPwC survey: Consumers want accountability, not ESG data Fast CompanyPwC survey: Consumers want accountability, not ESG data Fast Company
Impact Investing Forum 2023
London. May 04-05, 2023.
Poll after poll has shown that citizens trust businesses more than they trust governments and nonprofits. And that trust is growing. However, a new study has shown that consumers and corporate leaders have very different definitions of trustworthy behavior. The Complexity of Trust: PwC’s Trust in U.S. Business Survey surveyed 503 executives and 1,001 customers and found significant differences in how business leaders and the public view trust. The survey found that 50% of consumers believe accountability to customers builds trust in companies. 48% said clear communication is key to building trust, while 40% said “admits errors” is the most important driver of trust. PwC’s Trust in U.S. Business Survey surveyed 503 executives and 1,001 consumers and found significant differences in the way business leaders and consumers view trust. He says that executives spend a lot of time thinking about the future, whether it be in the next two, three, or five years. “And consumers tend be more present and now,” he says. Ryan says executives should be able think long-term and be able to respond quickly to consumer issues. Only 19% of respondents cited ESG reporting as a key factor in trust. However, 51% of business leaders deemed transparent ESG reporting “extremely important” for building trust with stakeholders. Ryan believes that business leaders should explain why ESG transparency is so important for building trust between communities and businesses. He says, “Telling that story moves [ESG] transparency to the top of the list.” “I do believe [ESG] will get there for the consumer.”Professional services firm PwC earlier this year reorganized into two businesses: Trust Solutions, which includes tax reporting and assurance, and Consulting Solutions, which will serve corporate customers in areas such as cybersecurity and deals. PwC also established a Trust Leadership Institute. While business has a higher level of trust than counterparts in government or philanthropy (or media), Ryan warns that businesses should not take this status for granted. He says that businesses should be concerned about being on the front foot, as trust can be fleeting. “It is not a guarantee that a business will always be the most trusted institution,” he says.