As Trust in employers and CEOs continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic, our clients further entrusted us to help them actively address very real societal and environmental challenges, and to place them in a position to fix problems while creating opportunities for profit and growth. We developed additional programs, special Trust reports, and practices. A growing number of clients and brands looked to us to help them develop and communicate purpose campaigns that make a difference locally and globally.
Building Trust with Our Clients
We believe Trust is the ultimate currency. It explains why we have studied trust and credibility in an annual survey for 22 years. Our annual Global Trust Barometer assesses the trust relationship that business, governments, the media, and NGOs build with their stakeholders.
Trust defines an organization’s license to operate, lead and succeed. It serves as the foundation that enables an organization to take responsible risks and to rebound from them when it makes mistakes. Without trust, credibility is lost and reputation can be threatened.
In 2022, two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust Barometer found that “my employer” remains the most trusted to do what is right, and workers expect CEOs to speak publicly about controversial societal issues they care about.
This is an even greater expectation of CEOs than before. However, the general population does not believe business is doing enough to address climate change (52%), economic inequality (49%), and workforce reskilling (46%). Our 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed more than 36,000 respondents in 28 countries.
In FY22, we published six special Trust reports that focused on how trust relates to specific sectors and societal issues – health, racial injustice, geopolitics, climate change, the workplace, and “the New Cascade of Influence.”
Global Ethics & Compliance
Edelman has recognized the critical importance of ethics since Dan Edelman founded our company in 1952 and emphasized the vital nature of professional and personal reputational trust. In FY22, we continued to raise the importance of global ethics and compliance through communications on Edelman Workplace, a revised ethics handbook updated from 2018, yearly Code of Conduct recertification module, and quarterly reports to office leaders about training metrics.
Our employees continue to embrace new ways of working that are inclusive and support our values and culture. Whether it is using mental health champions in various markets to raise awareness of mental health issues or to sign on to important causes, we constantly look at ways to level the playing field and help our employees and clients better navigate the changing landscape.
Edelman has committed actively to combatting the gender pay gap that continues to be an area of focus for countries around the world, with many countries adopting specific legislation to improve transparency about it. Edelman is dedicated to cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce where everyone is valued and respected. We have robust processes to ensure our approach to pay and reward is based on fairness, and we remain committed to developing a range of policies to address the business issues raised through the gender pay reporting system.
Edelman’s policies, processes and ethical culture support a just supply chain. As a signatory of the U.N. Global Compact, we support internationally accepted principles regarding human rights, labor standards, the environment and anti-corruption, including the United Nations Declaration and core ILO conventions. We updated our human rights policy in FY22 to tie in with the Davos anti-corruption initiative.
There always are areas for improvement, and we hope that with a renewed focus on completing mandatory compliance training, we can help build on the culture of open communication on issues important and relevant for sustaining the company and our wider society.
We plan to reinforce the businesses commitment around our foundations of ethics, values and honesty by reviewing how we operate our compliance programs. We will introduce annual recertifications on key topics related to our Code of Conduct. We also will examine ways to strengthen the awareness of our employees, whether through completion of training programs, communications, or initiatives such as working with colleagues locally to serve as Compliance Champions.
Data Privacy & Information Security
To put it simply, good data privacy and information security practices equal good corporate citizenship, and Edelman applies best practices for both our agency operations and for our clients.
Within Edelman, keeping our and our clients’ information confidential and secure will be even more critical as we move increasingly to a hybrid work environment where office space sharing becomes common and remote working is more prevalent.
For our clients, privacy and security also are increasingly vital. Most requests for business we receive ask in-depth questions about our data privacy and security policies and programs. Additionally, in our first-ever client survey in FY21, all respondents said it is important that Edelman addresses data confidentiality and information security. Therefore, we make sure we partner with our clients and get instructions from them to ensure we are on the same page regarding managing and protecting data.
We conduct our business according to Global Privacy Principles for collecting, using, storing, and other processing of personal information and for ensuring this occurs in accordance with applicable laws.
We continually review and update our data privacy and information security practices to align with Information Security Standards ISO 27002/27018/27701 and NIST Common Security Framework to ensure they are current and continue to safeguard personal and business data for our staff, firm, and clients. We continuously improve our approach and our protection capabilities. In the past year we have enhanced our incident response capabilities, refined our ability to identify and protect against attacks in email attachments and hyperlinks, and put technology in place aligned with the Zero Trust model.
Purpose-Driven Case Studies
Edelman Assists Growing Roster of Clients with Purpose-Driven Campaigns
Edelman’s Trust Barometer continues to underscore that consumers favor CEOs, companies and brands that address and act on societal issues. Edelman is helping more clients with purpose-driven campaigns that create a positive impact on a range of environmental, social and governance issues. The following examples from around the world drew strong acceptance, praise – and esteemed awards.