A collision of trust, innovation, and politics

The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals a new paradox at the heart of society. Rapid innovation offers the promise of a new era of prosperity, but instead risks exacerbating trust issues, leading to further societal instability and political polarization.

In a year where half the global population can vote in new leaders, the acceptance of innovation is essential to the success of our society. While people agree that scientists are essential to the acceptance of innovation, many are concerned that politics has too much influence on science. This perception is contributing to the decline of trust in the institutions responsible for steering us through change and towards a more prosperous future.

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The decline of authority

Trust in companies from global powers is in decline, worry over societal threats and establishment leaders misleading us is growing, while peers are as trusted as scientists for information on new innovations.

Innovation is on the ballot

Respondents see science as under political pressure, but feel government lacks the competence to regulate innovation effectively, so strong leadership is needed to move society towards acceptance.

A reset for science in society

Science has a communications problem that can be improved with better messaging, more transparency, and an explanation of its impact on regular people.

Restoring trust in the promise of innovation

Respondents are more likely to embrace an innovation if they are confident that it will lead to a better future.   
 

Explore the findings 

Trust

 

 

Business is trusted to make sure innovations are safe, understood & accessible

Most institutions are not trusted to introduce innovations to society. While business leads, it’s still just below 60 percent (Trust is 60 percent or above). Media is actively distrusted. And there is less trust across institutions among those with low income.

 

1. Implementation is as important as invention

Mismanaged innovations are as likely to ignite backlash as advance society. With breakthroughs like AI, vaccines, and green energy on the line, explaining the science and managing impacts is essential.   
 

 

2. Business must partner for change

Business is most trusted to introduce innovation into society, with an emphasis on partnering with government. CEOs need to safeguard jobs and take a stand on emerging ethical concerns.   
 

 

3. Science must integrate with society

Scientists are still trusted—but increasingly subject to public scrutiny. To build trust in expert recommendations, explain the research, engage in dialogue, and harness peer voices as advocates.   
 

 

4. Give me control over my future

When people feel in control over how innovations affect their lives, they are more likely to embrace them, not resist them. Listen for concerns, be open to questions.   
 

Explore the findings 

 

The Trust 10

01

Business must lead on innovation   

01

65% of respondents believe that business is the most trusted institution to integrate innovation into society, ensuring that it is safe, understood, beneficial and accessible.

02

Collaboration between business and government is KEY  

02

61% of respondents believe that collaboration between these two institutions can lead to trustworthy management of innovation.

03

More calls for inclusivity  

03

89% of respondents mandate business, government, and media to hear their concerns and allow for questions to be asked.

 

 

2024 Country & Sector Reports

MOROCCO REPORT:
Coming soon
 

NIGERIA REPORT:
Coming soon
 

 

What does this mean for your business?

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Methodology      
The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer is the firm’s 24th annual survey. The research was produced by the Edelman Trust Institute and consisted of 30-minute online interviews conducted between November 3 and November 22, 2023. Learn more >

28 
Countries 

32,000
Respondents

±1,150 
Respondents / Country