GlobeScan

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Growing Faith in Science and Technology:​ A GlobeScan Insight​

People – especially younger generations – are increasingly looking to science and technology to help create a better future

When asked directly whether they believe that science and technology can help create a better future, people across 25 countries surveyed almost universally agree that this is the case. However, young people are markedly more optimistic than older generations. Around half of those aged 18–24 (Gen Z) strongly agree with this notion, suggesting that the focus on science-based solutions will continue to grow in the future.

GlobeScan’s research shows that trust in scientific and academic institutions to operate in the best interest of society has increased over the past three years, while at the same time people have become less trusting of institutions such as government, business, and media. While people in North America and Europe are increasingly distrustful of these institutions, trust in scientific and academic institutions remains high in all countries surveyed.

Growing Faith in Science and Technology: A GlobeScan Insight

The trend of rising trust in scientific institutions, combined with the decrease in trust in governments and business, suggests that people are increasingly placing their faith in science and technology—in objective observers, rather than those with vested interests—to solve complicated challenges like climate change. Trust in scientific institutions is particularly strong among Gen Z, as well as among those aged 55 and over.

As a result, technology companies, which straddle this trust boundary, are likely to become even more influential. The global public already rate technology and computer companies more highly than other types of companies when it comes to fulfilling their societal responsibilities. Since 2013, we have seen an upward trend in consumer ratings for these type of companies on meeting their responsibilities to society.

Growing Faith in Science and Technology: A GlobeScan Insight

People in emerging markets, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, tend to have more positive perceptions of technology companies being socially responsible than people in North America and Europe, where enthusiasm is more muted.

Nevertheless, providing science-based and technological solutions to the world’s current challenges appears to resonate strongly with people across the world bringing, significant reputational benefits for companies and organizations.

GlobeScan Radar is a global survey conducted online among samples of 1,000 adults in each of 25 countries, weighted to reflect general population census data. The research was conducted during April and May of 2019.

Growing Faith in Science and Technology: A GlobeScan Insight

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Global South Rising: A GlobeScan Insight

People in emerging markets are more optimistic about the future and the globalized economy, and are increasingly engaging in ethical consumerism

GlobeScan’s research shows that there is a pronounced difference in optimism for the future between people in emerging economies, who tend to be much more hopeful, and those in the OECD countries, where fewer than half believe that future generations will enjoy a higher quality of life than we do today. People in China, India, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia are particularly optimistic about the quality of life of future generations.

Augmented appreciation of the benefits of globalization, defined as the increased trade between countries in goods, services, and investment, may be feeding into growing optimism. Globalization is increasingly perceived by people in emerging markets as having a positive effect on people’s interests, including significant increases in large countries such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Russia.

While remaining strongly optimistic about the future, people in emerging markets are also increasingly driving ethical consumption. Consumers in the non-OECD markets are now more likely than those in OECD member-countries to claim to have rewarded, as well as considered rewarding, responsible companies. Results show large increases in the proportion of those rewarding socially responsible companies in several key emerging markets, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

Other results show that emerging market consumers are significantly more trusting of large companies, and they may also be more positive and receptive toward purpose-driven initiatives by large companies and more likely to engage in ethical consumption going forward. In contrast, continued distrust in companies’ motives may be creating a barrier to consumer demand for more responsible products in industrialized countries and may partly explain the decline in those claiming to have rewarded responsible companies in North America and Europe.

These findings emphasize the growing importance of emerging market consumers in driving the transformation toward purposeful and sustainable brands and business models. Companies should increasingly turn their attention toward these key markets where consumers are highly receptive and excited about a better future.

GlobeScan Radar is a global survey conducted online among samples of 1,000 adults in each of 25 countries, weighted to reflect general population census data. The research was conducted during April and May of 2019.

Global South / Emerging Markets Rising: A GlobeScan Insight

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GlobeScan Radar: The Latest Trends That Will Shape 2020 and Beyond

Radar is a global public opinion research program of evidence and insights that is a vital part of GlobeScan’s contribution to helping influential organizations understand material issues, societal trends and the expectations people have of them. In uncertain times, leadership organizations need to build trust with their stakeholders and society and better engage with their external context.

Since 1997, GlobeScan Radar has explored questions such as how concerns about several economic, environmental and social issues are changing, how people’s preferences and behaviors are evolving over time, and how well different sectors are seen to be fulfilling their responsibilities to society.

Based on representative surveys of 1,000 people in each of 25 countries, Radar draws upon GlobeScan’s unique database of over two decades of polling public opinion about their outlook toward societal actors and the issues affecting them.

We hope these insights help us all to better understand and navigate the present, and to collectively build a more sustainable and equitable future.

Our new report reveals the following trends:

1. Declining legitimacy of established power:

Popular trust in institutions has become more differentiated. National governments, global companies, and the press are all losing credibility, while NGOs, the UN, and the scientific/academic community are gaining it.

2. Erosion of business’ social license to operate:

In parallel with their loss of trust in government, people are also losing trust in large global companies. Trust in big business has dropped particularly sharply in recent years in North America and Europe.

3. A growing wave of environmental concern:

Globally, concern about the environment and pollution is on par with concern about terrorism, with worries about specific environmental issues on the rise on average across the countries studied over time. In 21 of the 25 countries surveyed, over 50 percent of people now say that climate change is a “very serious” global problem.

4. Growing faith in science and technology:

The technology sector is seen as fulfilling its responsibilities to society better than other sectors. Not only are technology companies rated highest in terms of their fulfillment of responsibilities to society, 88 percent of respondents believe that technology will help create a better future, while 90 percent believe science will do the same.

5. The Global South: engaged and optimistic:

Consumers in emerging markets are increasingly driving ethical consumption, as people in emerging markets are now more likely than those in OECD countries to claim to have rewarded, as well as considered rewarding, responsible companies.

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Climate Change: A GlobeScan Insight

People across the world are increasingly worried about climate change, especially Gen Z

Citizens across the world are increasingly saying that climate change is a serious issue; it now ranks among the top of a range of 18 global issues that people in 25 countries surveyed say are “very serious.” Concern about climate change ranks third after terrorism and environmental pollution in general, and on par with corruption and the depletion of natural resources.

Climate Change: A GlobeScan Insight

Over the past five years, concern about climate change has increased across an average of 17 countries tracked over time, including in several large emitter countries such as the United States, India, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, and Turkey.

However, the level of concern about climate change varies widely among the 25 countries surveyed. Countries with the smallest proportions of people who perceive climate change as a very serious global threat are China, Russia, Japan, and the United States – four of the five top emitters of carbon dioxide. In India, the world’s third-largest emitter, people tend to be significantly more worried about the issue.

Climate Change: A GlobeScan Insight

Worries about the environment and climate change are likely to continue to grow, especially as younger generations tend to be significantly more tuned in to the urgency of these issues than older people, no matter how concerned their country’s citizens are on average. In both the United States and China, for example, younger people tend to see climate change as very serious more than those who are older. This is in line with the 25-country average where Millennials, and Gen Z in particular, tend to be the most worried. Other results also show that younger people across the world feel more guilty about their own impact on the environment than those in older age groups.

These findings suggest that there will likely be increasing participation in citizen-led movements around climate issues, many of them youth-focused. People around the world expect both governments and companies to take action to prevent further changes to the climate, and there will likely be reputational repercussions for those who do not act on this critical issue.

GlobeScan Radar is a global survey conducted online among samples of 1,000 adults in each of 25 countries, weighted to reflect general population census data. The research was conducted during April and May of 2019.

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Trust in Business: A GlobeScan Insight

Business’s social license to operate is eroding in Europe and North America

There is a growing divide between developed and emerging markets in terms of people’s trust in business to act in society’s best interest. Those in developed markets are losing trust in global companies, while people in emerging markets remain generally more trusting of business.

Trust in Business: A GlobeScan Insight - Dec 2019

Trust in big business has fallen in recent years in the OECD member countries that GlobeScan has tracked over time. In Germany, fewer people than ever in our two-decade time series now say that global companies operate in the best interest of society. In contrast, trust in business remains significantly higher in emerging non-OECD markets. Younger people also tend to be more trusting of business generally.

Other results of GlobeScan’s most recent Radar* public opinion poll confirm that many view business as not having the best interests of society in mind. Fewer than half of those in the 25 countries believe that large companies pay their fair share of taxes. However, people in Asia and Africa are more likely to agree that companies pay a fair share of taxes than those residing in Europe and North America. People in France, Germany, and Spain are the least likely to think that companies are paying their fair share, reflecting the very low levels of trust in business to operate in society’s best interest in these countries.

Trust in Business: A GlobeScan Insight - Dec 2019

There is also strong and growing agreement that governments should create laws that require companies to go beyond their business interests and contribute to a better society. This suggests that people do not believe companies will do so on their own. In the United States, a majority now believe that the government should regulate corporate responsibility.

These results may signal that big business will face ongoing challenges to its social license, with people being receptive to regulation, tax reform, and increased minimum wages. People in the OECD markets are also likely to remain particularly cynical about attempts by large companies to appear responsible or purpose-driven.

Individual corporate reputations will be influenced by the macro context of low trust in business. Understanding stakeholder views and expectations, and responding effectively, has never been more important for companies.

*GlobeScan Radar is a global survey conducted online among samples of 1,000 adults per country in each of 25 countries, weighted to reflect general population census data. The research was conducted during April and May of 2019.

Trust in Business: A GlobeScan Insight - Dec 2019

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Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

A GlobeScan Radar eBrief

As part of our latest Radar research program, we asked citizens in 21 countries about their awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals one year on from the launch, as well as the views of those in 15 countries on different institutions’ performance in acting to implement them.

While awareness is fairly low in 2017, nearly four in ten global respondents report having at least some awareness about the Goals. Among the general public around the world, corporate performance is perceived poorly.

Key Learnings

  • Companies need to take more action to increase awareness.
  • The SDGs are a new factor for consideration in business, and present an opportunity for global companies to rebuild trust with the public.
  • Aligning business models with real social issues could help global companies.

Read the full report here.

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American Public Divided on the Need to Take Action on Climate Change

1 June 2017 – President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that the US government does not prioritize climate change, despite almost half (49%) of the American public supporting the need to take “major action” according to new research.

Results show that 56 percent of people across 19 countries surveyed say that we should take immediate major action to reduce human impacts on climate, while 28 per cent say that no major action should be taken until more is known about climate change. In the US, public support is divided, with 44 percent of respondents saying no action should be taken until we know more, compared to 49 percent who say that we should assume the worst and that immediate action is needed.

Chris Coulter, GlobeScan CEO, commented: “President Trump’s abandonment of the global consensus and united effort on climate change, which will further isolate America in the world, would not be possible without a significant proportion of the population – 44 percent – who remain skeptical of taking action on climate change. The task ahead is to engage Americans across the country in the importance and benefits of acting to address climate change. Business, local government, civil society and academia all have a role to play in building a coalition of a large majority of Americans to demand action on climate change.”


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Methodology

In total 18,402 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between December 2, 2016 and April 26, 2017. Questions were asked by half samples in all countries polled except in India. Polling was conducted by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country.

In Brazil, China, Indonesia, Kenya, and Turkey urban samples were used. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 2.5 to 6.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

 

Country
Sample Size (unweighted)
Field dates
Sample frame
Survey methodology
Type of sample
Australia 800 February 6–19, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Brazil 810 March 20 – April 10, 2017 18-69 Face-to-face Urban1
Canada 1000 January 27 – February 15, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Chile 1200 December 2–19, 2016 18+ Face-to-face National
China 1171 February 24, – April 25, 2017  18+ Telephone Urban2
France 1009 February 6-16, 2017  18+ Telephone National
Germany 1002 January 13–31, 2017  16-70 Telephone National
India 1018 January 19 – March 23, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Indonesia 1000 March 8–22, 2017 18+ Face-to-face Urban3
Kenya 1010 February 1–15, 2017 18+ Face-to-face Urban4
Mexico 800 March 4–9, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Nigeria 800 February 2–8, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Pakistan 1000 December 26, 2016 – January 13, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Peru 1000 April 13–26, 2017 18-70 Face-to-face National
Russia 1018 February 3-22, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Spain 797 February 8-15, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Turkey 966 March 2–20, 2017 15+ Face-to-face Urban5
United Kingdom 1001 January 27 – February 19, 2017 18+ Telephone National
USA 1000 January 19 February 1, 2017 18+ Telephone National
  1. In Brazil the survey was conducted in Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Curitiba, Goiânia, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Paulo, representing 23 per cent of the national adult population.
  2. In China the survey was conducted in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Harbin, Shanghai, Shenyang,Shijiazhuang, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xi’an, and Zhengzhou, representing 15 per cent of the national adult population.
  3. In Indonesia the survey was conducted in Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, and Surabaya, representing 8 per cent of the national adult population.
  4. In Kenya the survey was conducted in Bomet, Bungoma, Elgeyo-Marakwet,Embu,Homa Bay, Kajiago, Kakamega, Kericho,Kiambu, Kilifi, Kirinyaga,Kisii, Kisumu, Kwale, Machakos,Makueni, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Siaya, Tharaka,Turkana, Uasin, Gishu, and Vihiga, representing 32 per cent of the national adult population.
  5. In Turkey the survey was conducted in İstanbul, Tekirdağ, Bursa, İzmir, Adana, Samsun, Trabzon, Ankara, Kayseri, Malatya, Diyarbakır, and Erzurum, representing 47 per cent of the national adult population.

Trust and Transparency in the Supply Chain: a GlobeScan eBrief

Diminishing trust in a range of institutions has become a central issue, especially when it comes to the relationships between business and society. Trust in global companies and national governments is especially low, as evidenced by GlobeScan’s annual tracking of trust in institutions. And in an age of increasing anti-globalization and nativism, this should be of great concern. With additional insight from Good World Solutions’ Laborlink, we explore best practices and challenges for labor in the supply chain.

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GlobeScan Radar Climate Change eBrief

Despite the possibility of a drastic change in direction on climate change policy after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency in the USA, GlobeScan’s tracking shows that the American public now believes more than ever that climate change is a “very serious” problem (since GlobeScan started tracking concern about climate change in 1998).

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Perceptions of Seriousness of Climate Change at Historically High Levels in the USA

15 December 2016 – Despite the possibility of a drastic change in direction on climate change policy after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency in the USA, GlobeScan’s tracking shows that the American public now believes more than ever that climate change is a “very serious” problem.

Results from GlobeScan’s 2016 Radar research show that Americans’ sense that climate change is a serious issue has rebounded after steadily declining in the aftermath of the 2007–2008 financial crisis. Just over half of the public in the USA now say that climate change is a “very serious” issue – the highest level measured in 18 years of tracking.

Commenting on what might be behind the recent increase in concern about climate change in the USA and other countries, Chris Coulter, GlobeScan CEO, said: “The successful negotiation of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) at the end of 2015 likely inspired a renewed sense of focus around the issue, with national governments finally seen to achieve some degree of leadership. In the USA, the Obama administration has become particularly serious about tackling climate change, possibly influencing the population with a sense of urgency. Around the world, social movements also tirelessly continue to push the issue.”

Read the GlobeScan Radar Climate Change eBrief for additional insight


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