NGOs considered less ethical and competent than businesses, survey shows

NGOs are considered to be less ethical and competent than businesses, according to new research.

The 2021 Trust Barometer was published today by the PR firm Edelman after what it described as a year of unprecedented disaster and turbulence.

In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis, there has been a global outcry over systemic racism and political instability, says the report, which is based on a survey of more than 31,000 people in 27 countries.

It reveals an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions and leaders around the world. 

Adding to this is a "failing trust ecosystem unable to confront the rampant infodemic", the report says, leaving the four institutions – business, government, NGOs and media – in an environment of what it calls information bankruptcy. 

The survey found a higher proportion of people said they trusted businesses (61 per cent) than NGOs (56 per cent).

Researchers concluded that the business sector came out as the only institution considered ethical and competent, followed by NGOs, media and government. 

In May, it was reported that trust in voluntary organisations in the UK had risen by six percentage points since January to 54 per cent, according to the PR firm’s spring update.

But from May to January this year it dropped six percentage points.

Overall, trust in NGOs has dropped in 11 of the 27 countries surveyed, the latest survey showed. 

In the UK, NGOs fell into the “mistrusted” category, although trust has declined across all the sectors of the economy. 

The report states that business, government, NGOs and others must find a common purpose and take collective action to solve societal problems.

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