How are CEOs rebuilding trust?

Business leaders know that building resilient organisations starts with trust. Discover how CEOs are rebuilding trust with their growing numbers of increasingly influential stakeholders.

Video: CEO views on trust

Infographic: Rebuilding trust

How confident are CEOS in revenue growth?

To succeed in their efforts to target the right opportunities, attract and keep more customers and improve operational effectiveness, CEOs know they have to repair the bridges between business and society.

The global financial crisis and questionable behaviour of some companies have badly damaged faith in institutions of every kind. And this is impacting on their brand value and performance. Indeed, 37% of CEOs are concerned that lack of trust in their industry could endanger their company’s growth.

Trust is the glue that binds an organisation and all its stakeholders together – and there are now many more stakeholders to consider. Thanks to the social media revolution, many also have an unprecedented amount of clout.

So what are the CEOs we surveyed doing to rebuild trust? They’re starting from within, with 56% planning to focus more on promoting an ethical culture this year and half planning to develop a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Looking beyond corporate walls, nearly half of CEOs plan to focus more on cutting their organisation’s environmental footprint in 2013 and 41% plan to focus more on non-financial reporting. CEOs are also aiming more broadly to improve national outcomes. Over the next three years, 61% plan to invest more in creating a skilled workforce – an area that most CEOs also think should be a shared priority with government.

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CEO interview quotes

"I think there is an indirect link between the agility of the company and its focus on the responsibility agenda: responsibility is really a great way of living our values, what we believe in as an organisation, and it helps to underpin the behaviours necessary for a business to be agile."

Alison Cooper
Chief Executive of Imperial Tobacco Group

"We get a license to operate not just from the regulators but also from civil society. To maximise our presence on the ground, we have to meet the expectations of society as a whole."

Piyush Gupta
Chief Executive Officer and Director of DBS Group

"We have a very broad environment of stakeholders that we need to manage and that is not easy. Currently, there is a lack of trust for large institutions such as banks or large government institutions."

Peter Terium
Chief Executive Officer of RWE AG

"The regulator and government have always been major stakeholders but today there is also a very different new set of stakeholders, right down to you and I. The public at large are stakeholders because they can take part in discussions on social media. They can influence our decisions and we actually want them to do that."

Steve Holliday
Chief Executive Officer of National Grid Group Plc.

"To build a long term business which is valuable and sustainable you have to set goals other than growth. We’ve always set goals of profitability along with growth, but we also aim to ensure that we have a proposition that is valued by both the customer and the employee."

Shikha Sharma
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Axis Bank Limited

"Takeda-ism is a management philosophy we’ve cultivated here in Japan... At the core of
Takeda-ism is an obligation to always act with integrity. Since integrity is a multifaceted idea, we break it down into three factors: fairness, honesty, and perseverance."

Yasuchika Hasegawa
President and Chief Executive Officer of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.

"But as a consequence of managing those businesses for growth, I believe we have played an important social role in creating employment. I personally believe that employment is the biggest contribution that we can provide to the country. In building thriving workplaces we create enormous social benefit."

Seymur Tari
Chief Executive Officer of Turkven

"We have introduced a “Planet and Society” barometer, which covers environmental, ethical and social considerations. Progress targets are established for each area. One way to embed CSR in the organisation is to make it a significant factor in the variable portion of managers’ remuneration."

Jean-Pascal Tricoire
President and Chief Executive Officer of Schneider Electric SA

"I think the role of business in society is poorly understood. Wealth creation is fundamental to a successful society. And the agency in society that creates wealth is business. Government can’t do it. Organised religion can’t do it. The military can’t do it. The single agent in society that creates wealth is business - and wealth creation is fundamental to human progress."

Carl Sheldon
Chief Executive Officer of TAQA

"We integrate our financial reports with our sustainability reports now and we report to all our stakeholders about what we are up to. We are very transparent on the goals that we set and how we are progressing vis-à-vis those goals."

Andrew Brandler
Chief Executive Officer of CLP Holdings Ltd.
  These interviews contain the opinions and views of the CEOs interviewed, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of PwC.


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