evidence and ideas. applied.

Insight of the Week: Consumers Rate Health, Food, and Tech Sectors Highest on Social Responsibility

Consumers Rate Health, Food, and Tech Sectors Highest on Social Responsibility

Performance of Sectors in Fulfilling Their Responsibilities to Society,
Net Performance,* Average of 27 Countries, 2020

There is great variability in the reputation of sectors across the economy.

Sectors providing essential services are rated particularly highly:

  • Healthcare companies are rated the highest while pharmaceutical companies are a few ranks behind.
  • Agriculture/farming, food, technology, and consumer goods sectors have all been instrumental in meeting essential needs during COVID-19.

This highlights a reliance on business resilience in challenging times.

Sectors associated with negative health or environmental impacts – tobacco, mining, alcohol, and oil – have net negative responsibility ratings.


  • Question wording: Please rate each of the following types of companies on how well they fulfill their responsibilities to society compared to other types of companies
  • Data source: GlobeScan Radar our 27-country, 27,000-person public opinion study on views of business, government and NGOs, issues tracking, and shifting societal expectations.

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Insight of the Week: Performance of Technology vs Social Media Sectors in Fulfilling Responsibilities to Society​

Performance of Technology vs Social Media Sectors in Fulfilling Responsibilities to Society​

Net Performance,* Average 27 Countries, 2020​​

Technology and computer companies are viewed by the general public as performing better on fulfilling their responsibilities to society than social media companies, with people in 25 out of 27 countries rating technology companies higher (people in Kenya and Vietnam rate social media companies slightly higher). Perceptions of the two sectors differ the most in the UK, where people hold particularly negative views of the responsibility of social media companies. Australians, Canadians, French, Germans, Japanese, Swedes, and Americans also hold much more positive views of technology companies than of social media companies.


  • Question wording: Please rate each of the following types of companies on how well they fulfill their responsibilities to society compared to other types of companies…?
  • Data Source: GlobeScan Radar, our 27-country, 27,000 person public opinion study on views of business, government and NGOs, issues tracking, and shifting societal expectations.

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Webinar Recap | Sustainability and Resilience: The World Post COVID-19 and the Role of Technology

On May 27, in partnership with Huawei, we hosted an informative webinar discussion about how progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be impacted in this post COVID-19 reality and the role of technology.

During the outbreak of COVID-19, there have been many conversations, webinars, and convenings on how the world is changing and how we are adapting. In this webinar, we looked more long-term – how business and society can respond to the emerging new reality, using the SDGs as the lens through which we can rebuild society.

With 2 key-note speakers and a panel of eminent experts, we explored how society can make sustainability the cornerstone of the ‘new normal’ through the SDGs and develop a system that values resilience as fundamental for a changing world.

The following set of international thought leaders shared their diverse perspectives:

The webinar was moderated by GlobeScan’s Wander Meijer and Perrine Bouhana.

Download Presentation Slides and Summary Report

Watch a highlights video:

Watch the full webinar recording:

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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Recognizing Leaders: Tony Henshaw, Aditya Birla Group

Recognizing Leaders: Tony Henshaw, Aditya Birla GroupBased in India, Aditya Birla Group (ABG) was founded in 1857. With more than 120,000 employees worldwide and spanning 34 countries and 14 sectors, the Group is built on a strong foundation of stakeholder value creation.

GlobeScan’s India Director Anup Guruvugari spoke with Tony Henshaw, Chief Sustainability Officer of ABG, about their strategy to build sustainable businesses.

What does sustainability mean to ABG, a group with a legacy of more than 150 years in 35 countries and one of India’s first big multinational corporations?

Our definition of a sustainable business is one that is able to thrive and be profitable within the shrinking constraints and legal requirements of a sustainable world. Best practice today won’t be good enough and we expect governments to have to legislate a sustainable world. Increased legislation is a risk and an opportunity to business, and we need to understand today what risks and opportunities may come along so that we can plan to adapt. We expect the world to go through a downturn first, as lack of legislation means business as usual and the world continues to deteriorate. Once change is inevitable, those who can adapt will be the survivors in a stable and sustainable world. Adaptation is not without its price and many may not have the technical ability, the geographical location, or the funds to make the transitions needed. Our objective is to get through that dip and come out the other side, and so continue to add to our 150 years of legacy and be around for another 150 years.

Not many companies are currently fully aware of the size of the change needed, the complete transformation of the energy matrix for instance, with 30 percent less fossil fuel use by 2030 and 60 percent by 2050, some even say 100 percent by that date. Today, everyone “does sustainability” and many assume they will be able to adapt because they have big enough balance sheets and they already have good technology, or they just feel invincible and they will be in the right place at the right time. This may be true for some, but many will have to change their product portfolio, the way they make things, and build new supply chains. Consider what happened to Volkswagen and the emissions scandal which led them to a new vision to become the biggest electric car maker in the world. That means retooling every factory, retraining every employee, learning new technologies and redesigning every car, and completely changing the way they operate. If you’re big enough and start early enough, then you can do it.

How does ABG actively build sustainable businesses?

We start by proactively building management systems to ensure that we know and can prove that we’re obeying the law. We then use the same systems to help each business ask themselves if they have management systems in place that meet our Sustainable Business Framework that has been certified as conforming to 16 international standards – including the UN Principles for Responsible Investments, the leading banks Equator Principles, and many international standards Organizations, among others. We also make sure that our people are trained and motivated, our assets are fit for purpose and maintained, and that our systems and procedures are capable of helping us operate to deliver best practice. We are moving away from command and control management to professional systems.

After working to make our current operations as good as possible and reduce our impacts on the world, our strategic teams are asking a number of key questions. What happens if best practice today isn’t good enough for the needs of a sustainable world by 2025 and 2030? What are the external factors that will impact our business and force us to redesign it in order to adapt? For example, we might need a much higher carbon price to motivate the energy transformation or shrinking water tables due to lack of management and over-exploitation, or plastics and waste legislation to clean the oceans and land. What do we need to do to adapt to these changes? For example, do we need to invest in new materials technology? How do we transform our captive power supplies? Where can we find sufficient water and how far do we have to bring it? These are questions that no longer have easy answers.

We are also looking at our supply chains. One of the biggest issues we see is that most big businesses don’t know where their supply chain resides and they take it for granted, particularly tiers 4, 5, and 6 who will be facing the same needs to adapt to the sustainable world we need to build. We not only want to build sustainable businesses; we want to build sustainable value chains where every connection in the value chain is a business that we understand to be sustainable. We need to find which companies are physically resilient to water shortage, have the right technology and energy matrix, and then work with them because we can’t afford to have key components disappear in the future.

What have been some of the macro trends that have affected ABG’s stance and strategy on sustainability?

The biggest macro trend is the realization that the planet is still deteriorating – carbon in the atmosphere has gone from 354 parts per million when former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland wrote her famous 1987 “Our Common Future” report, to 415 parts per million today. 450 parts per million means we have locked in a 2-degree temperature rise which means that India will have much less water available for its growing population. The world’s population has doubled in the past 60 years. Socially the world is getting better as we lift people from poverty and improve life expectancy, but if we don’t prioritize what we call the mission-critical issues then all our hard-gotten gains on the social front could be lost.

These trends have helped us to think about how we manage our operations better now, and how we prepare to adapt to the future. We need to see the return before we make the investment and one of the current challenges is to help leaders see the total cost of future adaptation as we are past the simple cost of mitigation. Some businesses may not even produce CO2, but could be massively impacted by climate change. To make the huge investments needed and to meet the laws and regulations driving them, we will need to innovate across the business including how we finance these changes. If we wait too long and are not ambitious enough, then business will find it cannot operate on a planet that fails.

Studying these macro trends at ABG has led us to develop our sustainable business model. We are reducing our impacts today and as we understand them more, we are creating sustainable business strategies to adapt to them.

With such varied businesses such as textiles, cement, telecommunications, financial services, and many others, how do you ensure that best practices are shared within the group?

At the Group level, we do more on systems best practice than we do on engineering best practice because the businesses are so different, however, the management systems needed are relatively the same. It is very important that every site has a risk assessment, an exposure assessment, a human rights risk assessment, and a biodiversity risk assessment. Each business analyzes these assessments and then takes decisions over targets and performance improvement that fits within their own business context.

Each business also looks at its long-term risk matrix and makes sure that the trends that we’ve identified are included and their consequences have been thought through. The results of the analysis and subsequent plan may well be different in retail, telecom, and metals. For example, metals may focus more on recycling while cement might go look at alternative materials and fuels. The answers may be different, but the methodology of building a sustainable business is the same.

What are you most proud of at the Aditya Birla Group?

I’m proud of our unique model and the creation of the sustainable business framework where we’ve boiled down international standards into an ABG framework of policies, standards, guidance notes, training courses, and self-assessment questionnaires for the business to assess where they are and prioritize improvements and plan transformations.

We’ve also innovated in how we oversee our global assets including 180+ factories, 5,000+ offices, and more than 50 guesthouses by using an IT system and self-assessment that puts the responsibility squarely on the business leadership and local management to drive the changes we need. By using IT, our reach and bandwidth plus our ability to manage large amounts of information is increased.

Finally, we have also developed many strong partnerships. We work with the International Union for Conservation of Nature on biodiversity, an NGO called Canopy on forest management and protection of ancient and endangered forests, and with Forum for the Future on Cotton 2030. We are members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. These partnerships have helped our business leaders identify what the major external factors are that face them and to consider longer-term risks and opportunities that have traditionally been underestimated or unseen. We have created a debate as to how we can build sustainable businesses that is happening more every day.

Recognizing Leaders: Anirban Ghosh, Mahindra Group

Recognizing Leaders: Anirban Ghosh, Mahindra GroupBased in India, Mahindra Group comprises over 150 companies across 100+ countries. Each of these companies is bound by one purpose – to Rise. Inspired by this spirit, its legacy and values, Mahindra Group’s goal to always positively impact their partners, stakeholders, communities and the world at large remains unshakeable.

GlobeScan’s India Director Anup Guruvugari spoke with Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer of the Mahindra Group, about their sustainability journey.

With a legacy of more than 75 years across the length and breadth of the country and the world, how was sustainability woven seamlessly into the ethos of the Mahindra Group?

Mahindra Group had a very auspicious start to sustainability. In the mid-2000s, our senior leadership was asked by a shareholder as to whether we had a triple bottom line report. At the time, we did not know what a triple bottom line report was. So, given that this work started with Mr. Anand Mahindra himself dealing with the question of what the triple bottom line report was, he made it a priority to integrate it into the rest of the business. The challenge was how to make sustainability integral to the business. Over time we arrived at our sustainability definition which is to build enduring business while rejuvenating the environment and enabling our communities and stakeholders to rise. This definition then translates into several activities which helps sustainability filter through the organization.

How difficult was it in the initial years? Did you face any resistance?

The difficulty was always to translate sustainability such that people from different businesses and functions would understand. For example, if we simply presented it as “sustainability will save the planet,” it would remain in the bucket of “doing the right thing” without necessarily having a business connection. That wouldn’t give us traction. So, the difficulty really was to translate sustainability in a way which was relevant for the business and relevant for functions within the business.

Being a conglomerate naturally comes with high levels of complexity. How do you measure progress against sustainability goals for the entire group?

The good thing about sustainability is that there are three major branches: people, planet, and profit. The planet conversation starts with carbon and that’s common to every business. The intensity of relevance may vary from business to business depending on how carbon intensive the business is, but the conversation is the same. So, setting goals for reducing the carbon footprint is a common agenda.

Another example is water security. If the business is very water-intensive, the issues are more important for them. If it is less water intensive it is less important, but the question to ask even these businesses is, if there is no water, what impact would it have on your business? Therefore, managing water security is again common across businesses.

What I’m trying to convey is that while yes, there are many differences across businesses, sustainability has a lot of commonalities and dealing with them first helps you to get traction.

Where things become more complex is when we discuss the opportunities and risks of climate change, as they are different for each business. While we’ve made some progress in integrating climate change into strategy conversations, it’s a difficult conversation to have because it actually asks leaders to think differently about new businesses.

Each business has its own sustainability roadmap with quantifiable goals for the future. While there are some commonalities between businesses, there are some items that are unique to the business and the industry that they are in. We enable the businesses to build these roadmaps and monitor progress and help them achieve their goals.

What does sustainability leadership mean today in a country like India?

Sustainability leadership for a corporation in India today means leveraging climate action to do business better. If the business is leveraging climate change to make more money in the short run, to deal with risks in the medium term, and to make sure that it continues to be around in the long run, it is handling sustainability well. The understanding of better business continues to evolve, and the aspects of rejuvenating the environment and enabling stakeholders to rise has been added to the conventional knowledge of how to build an enduring business. That’s what sustainability leadership means in India for a corporation.

How can a group like Mahindra, being a leader in sustainability, further leverage its leadership position and be recognized by its stakeholders?

If the Mahindra Group is able to offer solutions to people to live their lives in a manner which is more climate friendly, it will automatically be recognized by its stakeholders as being a leader in this space. In a recent survey, we discovered that awareness of sustainability, of climate, and desire to take appropriate action were very high amongst the urban population of India. Most people said that they didn’t have appropriate solutions or appropriate products to adopt when they wanted to. So, if the Mahindra Group is able to offer electric cars, micro-irrigation, green buildings, waste-to-energy, and solar power, it will be seen as being a leader in this space.

What do you think are some of the obstacles that have prevented large-scale adoption of sustainability as a business case? How did Mahindra overcome such obstacles?

Clarity, or the lack of it, about the idea of sustainability is usually the biggest obstacle that prevents meaningful climate action. At Mahindra we’ve tried very hard to bring as much clarity as possible to the idea of sustainability. We’ve done it by adopting a definition and by making that definition part of a sustainability framework whose elements are easy to understand for any business or any individual. Our sustainability framework separates the issues related to people, planet, and profit so that it doesn’t seem like a big jumble, and then translates each one of the issues into tangible projects and actions which then show up in each of the businesses’ roadmaps. This makes the whole work of sustainability something that people can relate to, that they can take pride in, and have a sense that they’re doing something meaningful.

What are you most excited about as climate activism and awareness reaches a peak? And what does it mean for a country like India?

The most exciting thing about climate activism is the possibility that we will actually discover a new way of life, a low-carbon way of life, where we are more in harmony with nature. I don’t think there is anything better that can happen both for the planet and for the people.

For this to happen there would need to be a lot of innovation, a lot of new businesses, a lot of new jobs, and a lot of growth for the economy. It won’t be easy, but it will be an opportunity to literally reboot the world.

What do you think will be the key drivers for corporate sustainability in India in the next five years?

Given the conversations that are happening at the intergovernmental level, the primary driver for corporate sustainability is still the desire to do good or to do the right thing. While five years is a very short span of time, I think a larger number of businesses in India will realize that sustainability actions are good for business, that they help build resilience, profitability, and prepare the organization  for the future.

In a somewhat longer period of time, we will start seeing consumers preferring climate-friendly products. We will start seeing stricter regulations, especially if we don’t make progress on the national commitments toward reaching the 1.5 degrees centigrade pathway. That in turn will drive a lot of investment in technologies that help reduce carbon footprint.

We understand that our focus on sustainability helps attract young people who have a sense of purpose or who seek a sense of purpose in their lives. It gives us a lot of pride that an increasing number of people are becoming engaged in the work on sustainability year after year.

On one end of the spectrum, we have more than 20,000 of our colleagues adopting LED lamps, energy efficient fans, energy efficient air-conditioners, and are migrating seamlessly from plastic bags to cloth bags. On the other end of the spectrum, I see business heads investing more in projects which help reduce emissions while simultaneously helping business. This gives a sense of satisfaction that we are moving forward in the sustainability journey in the Mahindra Group.

Innovating with Purpose: Perspectives from the SDG 9 Leadership Forum

innovating with purpose: sdg 9SDG Goal 9 Leadership Forum
hosted by GlobeScan / VMware

Read the full report from our online discussion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Learn from the perspectives from more than 150 participants who explored the critical role technology innovation and digital infrastructure can play in achieving the United Nations’ ambitious 2030 goals, and the technology industry’s opportunity to help drive resilient and sustainable economic and environmental development.

What is Sustainable Development Goal 9?

SDG 9 aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

SDG Forum 9 discussion experts included:

  • Brands
  • Manufacturers
  • Funders
  • Innovators
  • Academics
  • NGOs
  • Government

Discussion Summary

Participants explored the reasons behind technology innovations, and considered that design for sustainable development may require an attitudinal shift. There was a call to move away from design that fits existing systems, and to instead direct innovation toward human needs, particularly those in marginalized regions. This requires fundamental understanding of challenges in developing countries to inform how technology solutions might be reached. Stakeholders discussed the importance of local context in delivering solutions, and that some less developed regions may need capacity building to reach the most impact.

Key Learnings

Five elements are needed to make further progress:

  1. A paradigm shift is needed. Participants highlighted that we may require an attitudinal shift in the way technology companies innovate: rather than designing products that fit into existing systems, technology solutions will need to be designed with all social groups in mind, but especially marginalized communities.
  2. The need to understand local context. For technology to have real impact in sustainable development, stakeholders agreed that solutions must be designed with users in mind and help break down economic barriers through cost-effective entry points.
  3. A need for local capacity. In developing economies, implementation of technology solutions requires key capacities on the ground.
  4. Unlock political will through technology infrastructure. Participants agreed that the first step in creating scalable technology innovations is to understand and account for local capacity: innovation will be fruitless if the proper infrastructure, resources, and people are not in place to make it successful and workable at scale.
  5. Scaling innovation for sustainable development. Stakeholders emphasized the importance of innovation that can be taken to scale, and some pointed out examples of where city infrastructure can provide lessons for the technology industry

Going forward, organizations like VMware will be crucial in raising awareness of Sustainable Development Goal 9. Not only is today’s infrastructure increasingly rooted in digital technology and networks, but innovation is a concept that technology companies embrace and lead. The challenge for the sector remains how to steer innovation toward sustainable development and more resilient, inclusive societies.

Nicola Acutt, Vice President, Sustainability at VMware sets out the challenge and opportunity well: “Meeting any of the SDGs will take an enormous amount of collaboration among governments, NGOs, and nonprofits, and the private sector. Progress requires all of us and I am encouraged by the people that participated in the Globescan SDG Leadership Series. We are all dealing with complex, global challenges each and every day, and here at VMware, we share the conviction that everyone can play a role in advancing progress.”

SDG 9 Forum Report

Read the full report to find out more about the discussion, examples of technology innovation and digital infrastructure in practice, lessons from other industries, case studies, barriers and solutions to this complex issue, and learn how consumers, brands and retailers can play a part in unlocking resilient and sustainable economic and environmental development.

download the report

Launch of VMware’s Discovery Center

VMware’s commitment to innovating for good is integral to the company’s success and is evident in its people, products and impact on the planet. It means incorporating sustainability into every product release and being at the forefront of sustainability in global business and operations.

In the below video, originally a live stream from the opening of VMware’s Discovery Center in Palo Alto, CEO Pat Gelsinger announced that the company has achieved carbon neutrality two years ahead of schedule.

The video also highlights a 30-minute panel discussion titled “Innovating for Good – The Opportunity and Responsibility for Tech,” where participants of the SDG Leadership Forum were able to view and interact with the panel by posting comments into the forum discussion. Following this panel, the discussion carried on for the remainder of the Forum, promoting thoughtful commentary and insights.

About the GlobeScan SDG Leadership Series

The GlobeScan SDG Leadership Series is a set of seventeen online discussions and each Forum will focus on one Global Goal, connecting experts and opinion leaders to share ideas and actions for making progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Read reports on past SDG Leadership Forums:

Sign up to be notified of future Sustainable Development Goal Forums and join our panel of experts.

Innovating with Purpose: Technology’s Role in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

“In the next decade, I think the challenges we face will drive new technology innovation by necessity – we will need to apply technology to drive efficiency to address climate change, we will need to use technology to protect people and advance human rights. But to do this, it will require higher levels of collaboration and improved inclusivity in the technology industry moving forward.”

How can technology companies help progress the SDGs through innovation? Join GlobeScan and VMware in our second session of the SDG Leadership Forum for Goal 9: Industry, Infrastructure, and Innovation, hosted online on December 12, 2018 at 10:00 London / 5:00 Hong Kong.

As part of our ongoing series of online dialogues, this upcoming SDG Leadership Forum offers an opportunity to explore the critical role technology innovation and digital infrastructure can play in achieving the United Nations’ ambitious 2030 goals, and the technology industry’s opportunity to help drive resilient and sustainable economic and environmental development.

In this live, online, text-based discussion, we will discuss:

  1. why technology innovation and infrastructure are one of the most important requirements for global development;
  2. how can technology companies help economies be more resilient, especially amid growing disruptions; and
  3. understand how technology companies can target future innovation to help drive resilient and sustainable economic development.

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware sets out the challenge and opportunity well:

“Now more than ever, the tech community has a responsibility to engage and act. This applies not only to our own businesses but also to shaping global policy and regulatory frameworks to ensure that technology serves the greater good.”

Miss our first session on SDG 9 last month? Register for this upcoming event to join the conversation, and for more information leading up to December 12. It’s fully online, so you can join from anywhere in the world.

register for this upcoming event

Recognizing Leaders: Tae Yoo, Cisco

Tae Yoo is the Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs at Cisco. She drives Cisco’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs through public-private partnerships that use technology to create positive, sustainable change in education and workforce development. As the steward of Cisco’s CSR vision, GlobeScan co-CEO Chris Coulter spoke with Tae to gain insight on how she directs Cisco’s business, technical, and financial assets to make a positive impact for people and communities around the world.

From where you sit, what are the biggest challenges facing the world?

I think the biggest challenge is access. The upside and downside of change is so huge now, with evolving technologies and our increased ability to solve problems, the most significant challenge we face is providing access to these opportunities.

The good news is that there is much more upside now than historically. Look at what we are seeing in medicine, for example. The kinds of innovation and discoveries that are happening around medicine could have potentially huge life-saving capabilities. Making sure these capabilities are accessible to those in need across the world is a critical opportunity.

Combining opportunity with new technologies allows for the scaling of solutions like we’ve never seen before. Add to that a generation coming of age with communications embedded in everything they do, lays the groundwork for the emergence of entrepreneurs like Neopenda.

For instance, when you think about infant mortality, lack of care givers can tip the balance between life and death. Two young women out of Columbia University founded Neopenda after developing an innovation for a wearable neo-natal monitor that uses low-energy sensors to track infant vital signs. When an infant goes into distress, it alerts the nurses, and allows for rapid response to care for the baby. This is just one example of the millions of entrepreneurs innovating out there to solve important problems in the world.

It sounds like this was a very human response, rather than just a technology fix?

It is both. For these types of solutions to work and create a better world, they need human and technology interventions. For us at Cisco, we have learned that having a values-driven agenda is the first step. This combined with our IT expertise allows for even greater possibility.

Internet access has become increasingly important in today’s world because so much of our interactions now happen online. Because of that, I believe that high quality, reliable internet is a HUMAN RIGHT – just like clean water and clean air – because it serves as the pathway for people to get access to government services, health care, education, etc. That is why we see the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #9 on infrastructure and innovation as being so critical to a country’s developmental progress.

What are you most excited about?

We have set an ambitious goal to positively impact 1 billion people with digital solutions by 2025. We know that the same technology and skills that we use to solve our customers’ business problems can be used to solve some of the world’s biggest global challenges from unemployment, to poverty, to barriers to education, to climate change.

In order to reach this goal, we launched our Global Problem Solver initiative and are trying to foster an environment where everyone sees themselves as a problem solver – someone who can innovate as a technologist, think as an entrepreneur, and act as a social change agent – and harnesses the power of digital technology to do so.

When you think about natural disasters like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, our gut instinct is to get aid on the ground. But how do you know where to go and what people need? The answer is that it is all about communications and connectivity – facilitating communications and getting first responders to the places where they need to go with the appropriate resources, that is huge.

At Cisco, we are trying to create an eco-system that nurtures global problem solvers to address many challenges. We do so in three primary ways.

The first is building the skills needed to participate in the digital economy. We have been doing this through our Networking Academy for 20 years now and have had nearly 8 million students go through it.

Second, partner with NGOs so they can provide support and solve these problems on the ground. If you think about poor communities where women and girls need to spend hours looking for water, easily locating the nearest water point opens up opportunities for them to go to school instead. Organizations like Water for People and the Akvo Flow app can help develop baseline maps of water access points.

Third, we need to think of how we encourage people to become innovators and entrepreneurs. Because you never know where the next great idea is going to come from, we support global problem solver challenges for technology solutions that solve social or environmental problems and have the potential to contribute to economic development.

What have you learned as you drive the Global Problem Solver initiative forward?

Anyone can be a global problem solver. I think what we have is a more empowered world, where individuals can help change the world. We want to make sure that this empowerment can be turned into action for good. It is a really great opportunity and a terrific moment.

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Fake Internet Content a High Concern, but Appetite for Regulation Weakens

21 September 2017 – Almost four out of five Internet users worry about what is real and fake on the Internet (79%), with nearly half (45%) strongly identifying with this concern, according to a new global poll conducted in 18 countries for the BBC World Service.

The poll of more than 16,000 adults conducted by GlobeScan between January and April 2017 also found that, despite their concern about fake Internet content, a growing proportion of Internet users are opposed to governmental regulation. On average, in the 15 tracking countries surveyed, the proportion agreeing that the Internet should never be regulated by any level of government has increased, from 51 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2017.

This pushback against regulation comes in the context of greater advocacy for ensuring universal access to the Internet. In the 16 tracking countries surveyed on this question, an average of 82 per cent think that access to the Internet should be a fundamental right of all people, up from 79 per cent in 2010. In the same interval, Internet usage has expanded globally, with 75 per cent reporting personal use of it in the past six months in 2017, a jump of 16 points compared to seven years ago (59%).

The countries with the highest proportions opposed to any sort of government regulation of the Internet include Greece (84%), Nigeria (82%), Brazil (72%), France (71%), and Turkey and Kenya (each 70%). These countries also tend to be those where opposition to regulation has grown most notably since 2010: the largest increases are 24 points in France, 19 points in Brazil, and 16 points in Turkey.

In a number of Western nations, apart from Greece and France, attitudes towards Internet regulation are rather mixed. Opinion in Canada, Australia, Spain, and Germany is polarised on this topic, with the proportions in favour of government intervention trailing the majorities against it by just a few points. In the UK, a narrow but stable majority (53%) continues to favour some sort of regulation. The only other surveyed country to share this view is China, where a growing majority is willing to support Internet regulation by authority (67%, up 9 points).

As Internet usage has widened, anxiety about what is real and fake online has spread. Brazilians are the most worried about this, with 92 per cent reporting some level of concern. Other emerging economies also report high unease, especially in Indonesia (90%), Nigeria (88%), and Kenya (85%). Elsewhere in the world, reported levels of concern about fake Internet content are also quite high, ranging from 75 to 85 per cent in most countries, with the exception of Germany—the only surveyed nation with a narrow majority (51%) stating that they are not worried about this.

The poll also reveals that Internet users are increasingly wary of expressing their opinions online. In the tracking countries, a majority (53%) do not feel safe doing this in 2017, compared to 49 per cent in 2010. Cautious web users now outnumber those who feel safe to speak their minds online (46%). Caution is more pronounced in developed economies, while attitudes in developing economies are more relaxed, with strong majorities reporting feeling safe to express their opinions online in Nigeria (94%, up 10 points since 2010), Peru (88%), Indonesia (73%, up 7 points), Kenya (71%, stable), and China (66%, a leap of 23 points).

This is in stark contrast with the anxious mood in the Western countries surveyed, where (except in Germany) solid and strongly increasing majorities report unease about expressing their opinions in Europe, North America, and Australia. The French and the Greeks are least likely to see the Internet as a safe place to speak freely (82% and 75%, respectively). German perceptions stand at odds with this trend, with anxiety diminishing to 53 per cent in 2017, a large drop from 2010, when a strong majority (72%) did not see the Internet as a safe place to express opinion. Attitudes in Germany are now closer to those in Russia, Turkey, Mexico and Brazil.

GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented: “The significant poll finding here is the strengthened opposition to any sort of government control over the Internet (up 7 points since 2010). This is despite the poll findings showing people’s comfort in expressing their opinions online has fallen since 2010, likely due to Edward Snowden’s 2013 NSA surveillance revelations. However, Snowden’s impact appears to have been modest on this measure (down only 4 percentage points). This suggests that the present high concern about ‘fake news’ may not affect people’s on-line behaviour very much, apart from them doing more fact-checking.”

The results are drawn from a survey of 16,542 adult citizens across 18 countries, including 11,799 Internet users, conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork, involving telephone and in-person interviews, between 13 January and 27 April 2017. In five of the 18 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 2.9 to 3.9 per cent. 

Key Demographic Findings

The poll also highlights some differences by gender. Globally, personal usage of the Internet is more widespread among men than among women (78% vs 71%), and this trend extends across 13 out of 17 countries, including developed nations such as France, Germany, Spain, and the USA.

Female Internet users are less likely than male users to feel safe expressing their opinions online. Globally, only 44 per cent of female respondents are unafraid to speak their minds, outweighed by the 54 per cent who report anxiety about this. Male respondents are split on this topic (49% vs 50%). This anxiety among women is more pronounced in developed countries such as the UK (just 36% feeling safe), USA (35%), Canada and Australia (each 29%), Spain (23%), Greece (19%), and France (just 14%).

Attitudes towards government regulation of the Internet are fairly similar across genders globally, with global majorities of both male and female respondents opposing regulation (62% and 58%, respectively). Some gender differences appear in some countries, however. While majorities of male Internet users oppose regulation in Australia, Canada, Germany, and Spain, their female counterparts are split on this question. In the UK, a majority of women (56%) actually favour some regulation while men are equally divided. British women are also significantly more worried than their male counterparts about fake content on the internet (77% vs 65%).

Looking at age categories, there is still a strong generational gradient in Internet usage, which is near-universal (96%) among under-18s, but has reached fewer than half (45%) of over-65s. Within this wider pattern, the most notable difference in perceptions between Millennials and the older groups relates to their more relaxed attitude to expressing their opinion online. Globally, in 17 countries, 57 per cent feel safe to speak their mind among 18-24 year old respondents, but this proportion decreases steadily as respondents get older, falling to just 39 and 30 per cent among the 55-64 year old group and those aged more than 65, respectively. This generational difference is particularly apparent in Germany, Mexico, Brazil, and to some extent in the UK and in Australia.

Globally, younger respondents aged 18 to 24 years old are also more likely than their elders to oppose government regulation of the Internet: 64 per cent report this opinion, while the proportion steadily decreases among the older cohorts, falling to just 53 per cent among the oldest cohort. And, perhaps because their use of the internet is more common, they show greater concern about fake content online (80% vs 77% and 76% among the 45-54 and 55-64 age groups, respectively).

participating countries

In Brazil, China, Indonesia, Kenya, and Turkey, urban samples were used.


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Media Contacts

For media interviews, please contact:

  • Stacy Rowland, Director Public Relations and Communications, GlobeScan Incorporated

About the BBC World Service

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster, delivering a wide range of language and regional services on radio, TV, online and via wireless handheld devices. It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 192 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels. Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate. BBC World Service offers its multilingual radio content to partner FM stations around the world and has numerous partnerships supplying content to news websites, mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices as well as TV channels. For more information, visit


In total 16,542 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between January 13, 2017 and April 27, 2017. Polling was conducted for BBC World Service 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 +/- 2.9 to 3.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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
China 1171 February 24, – April 25, 2017 18+ Telephone Urban2
France 1009 February 6-16, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Germany 634 January 13–31, 2017 16-70 Telephone National
Greece 709 March 17 – April 19, 2017 18+ Telephone National
India 1018 January 19 – March 23, 2017 18+ Telephone National
Indonesia 1000 March 8–22, 2017 18+ Face-to-face Urban3
Kenya 1010 February 1–15, 2017 18+ Face-to-face Urban4
Mexico 799 April 22–27, 2017 18+ Face-to-face National
Nigeria 800 February 2–8, 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.

Research Partners

Country Research Institute Location Contact
Australia GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
Brazil Market Analysis Florianopolis Fabián Echegaray
+55 48 3364 0000
Canada GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
China GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767
France Efficience 3 Paris and Rheims Thierry Laurain
+33 1 4316 5442
Germany Ri*QUESTA GmbH Teningen Bernhard Rieder
+49 7641 93 43 36
Greece MRB Hellas Athens Vivian Antonopoulou
+30210 6971000 /+306944 414756
India Team C Voter Noida Yashwant Deshmukh
+91 120 424 7135
Indonesia DEKA Marketing Research Jakarta Ratna Mulia Darmawan
+62 21 723 6901
Kenya Research Path Associates Ltd. Nairobi Charles Onsongo
+254 20 2734770
Mexico Parametría Mexico City Francisco Abundis
+52 55 2614 0089
Nigeria Market Trends Lagos Jo Ebhomenye
+234 1734 7384
Peru Datum Lima Urpi Torrado
+511 215 0600
Russia CESSI Institute for Comparative Social Research Moscow Vladimir Andreenkov
+7 495 650 55 18
Spain Sigma Dos Int. Madrid Petrana Valentinova
+34 91 360 0474
Turkey Yöntem Research Consultancy Ltd. Istanbul Mehmet Aktulga
+90 212 278 12 19
United Kingdom Populus Data Solutions London Patrick Diamond
+44 207 553 4148
USA GlobeScan Toronto Robin Miller
+1 647 528 2767


M3t. Have you personally used the internet or E-mail in the past six months?

01 – Yes
02 – No


99 – DK/NA


M4. To what extent do you agree or disagree that…

ct. The internet is a safe place to express my opinions [ASKED ONLY IF YES AT M3]

01 – Strongly agree
02 – Somewhat agree
03 – Somewhat disagree
04 – Strongly disagree


99 – DK/NA

gt. The internet should never be regulated by any level of government anywhere [ASKED ONLY IF YES AT M3]

ht. Access to the internet should be a fundamental right of all people [ASKED TO ALL]

e. I worry about what is real and what is fake on the Internet [ASKED ONLY IF YES AT M3]