•The survey shows that with Kenyans placing trust in their employers, business leaders are faced with greater societal expectations which must be met if they are to remain relevant.
•NGOs, business, and media are all seen as competent and ethical institutions.
Businesses are running the risk of losing the trust of their consumers and employees due to minimal investment towards external shocks like climate change a new report has revealed.
The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that a majority of Kenyans feel businesses are not doing enough to publicly address pertinent societal issues like climate change, access to healthcare, economic inequality, and energy shortages.
The survey shows that with Kenyans placing trust in their employers, business leaders are faced with greater societal expectations which must be met if they are to remain relevant.
Edelman Kenya Managing Director, Corazon Wandimi, says business leaders are often risk averse and will shy away from addressing societal issues in fear of being perceived as politicized.
“However, 65 percent of Kenyans agree that this would not be the case and business can avoid this fate by remaining a trustworthy source of information, not aligning with a particular party, refusing to bend to political pressure, basing their actions on science, and acting on consistent values over time,” said Wandimi.
The trust barometer shows that NGO and Business are the most trusted institutions in Kenya with teachers, NGO leaders and business leaders seen as a unifying force for a population increasingly grappling with personal economic fears relating to unemployment and higher costs of living.
According to the report, NGOs, business, and media are all seen as competent and ethical institutions.
Trust in one’s employer (among employees) matched trust in NGOs across the general population, both growing by three percentage points year-on-year to 76 percent.
In Kenya, this figure saw a year-over-year double-digit decline (11pts), although 80 percent still remain optimistic.
“As one of the most trusted institutions, NGO’s holds the mantle of greater societal expectation and responsibility. Furthermore, businesses leaders must leverage their comparative advantage to inform debate and deliver solutions to societal challenges,” added Wandimi.
More than three-quarters (82%) of Kenyans surveyed believed that CEOs are obligated to hold divisive forces in society accountable by defending facts and exposing questionable science used to justify bad social policies.
Pulling advertising revenues from platforms that spread misinformation (76%); and Kenyans surveyed say companies could strengthen the social fabric by supporting politicians and media outlets that build consensus and cooperation
The onus has also been placed on CEOs to improve economic optimism by remunerating workers with a just wage, ensuring their local communities are safe and thriving, paying fair corporate taxes, and retraining or upskilling employees.
Most Kenyans expect CEOs to take a public stand on prominent issues including the treatment of employees, discrimination, the wealth gap, climate change, and immigration.