Who do we trust? Edelman – claiming to be the World’s largest public relations firm- launched their 14th Trust Barometer this week, looking at government, media and business across the globe. 27,000 thought leaders, professionals – we’re asked who they trusted and why? So I asked myself, who do I trust and why, to see if my very personal findings from these ten, chimed with Edelman’s findings?
1. Martin the milkman – our local milkman has become an institution, he always tells you what’s going on, lives for his job so much so, that he bought the business. Totally enthusiastic about life and his customers
2. My mum – mum’s only feedback what you are feeling, they are a time capsule of everything you are, what’s not to trust about that?
3. The Guardian – I believe it supports the underdog and wants to get to the heart of the issue
4. Fairtrade – ‘our global village shop’ ran by low paid farmers supplying their local produce, Fairtrade pay a fair price for this produce, giving them the opportunity to improve their environment and better educate their families
5. John Lewis – you know that they respect their relationship with you
6. Wikipedia – as it is written by people like you and me
7. The BBC – despite recent leadership issues and cover-ups, time and time again, they step-up to the mark
8. Sir David Attenborough – more to the point, what will we do when ‘his show’ is retired?
9. HRH Prince of Wales – he has put his money where his mouth is and believes in inspiring the next generation to care about our planet, people and wildlife
10. My local pub The Old Swan and Chiltern Brewery – both full of local goodness
– Showing their own quality (high quality products, for the most part, remains an important trust driver)
– Family feel (family owned and SMEs are the most trusted at 76% in EU)
– They are like you and me (62% said the most trusted source was a person like ‘yourself’, 15% points up from 2013)
– Active and participate in “my community” (80% said ‘engagement’ and ‘integrity’ were trust builders)
– And most of all they listen and respond (actions that were ranked highest included communicating clearly and transparently by 82%. And 59% of people stated listening to customers would improve things, which was overall 28% above their actual performance).
Well at least it feels like they do. If businesses and government could do more of this, they would no doubt close the ‘trust gap’. 79% said businesses have permission to play a role in regulation and debate (but should consult with stakeholders like NGOs). NGOs still bring their own set of thinking, that in my view can never be ‘own labelled’. Fortunately, NGOS have retained their crown as the most trusted organisations.
But only just.
With environmental leadership floundering at the very top of our “greenest government ever”, we thought it would be a good exercise to look at who has brought about some real green leadership through their work and vision. Our Top 10 Environmental Leaders are as follows:
1. Tim Smit – founder of the Eden Project, which has become synonymous with raising awareness of green issues and inspiring young people
About 13 million visitors have come to the Eden Project, which cost £141m to build and is estimated to have generated £1.1bn for the West Country in extra tourist spending. Built to be as energy self sufficient as possible, the attraction provides environmental projects as well as allowing visitors to explore ideas and innovations that can be implemented to ensure we ‘tread lighter on the planet’.
Talking about the launch of The Eden Project “I thought that environmentalists were usually so boring, I wanted to do something that was so theatrical that people would have to suspend cynicism.”
2. Harriet Lamb – Fairtrade opened up the lives of producers on the other side of the world
Her team have helped build commercial partnerships that have resulted in sales growing from £30 million in 2001 to £1.32bn in 2011. This means that More than 7 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America benefit from Fairtrade – farmers, farm workers, and their families. Fairtade this year launched a campaign requesting that the public sign a petition for smallholder farmers to get a better deal to hopefully spark debate about the matter at the summer G8 meeting. They achieved over 15,000 supporters.
“Times are tough for people in the UK right now. But across the developing world, times are desperate for smallholders, caught between rising food and fuel prices and a credit crunch that sees orders falling and access to loans becoming harder than ever”
3. Yvon Chouinard – founder of Patagonia who ‘walks the talk’
Just announced that his company will be launching an in-house venture fund named $20 million & Change for startups that try to make a positive impact in five areas: clothing, food, water, energy, and waste. Patagonie itself has challenged the status quo of retail
“…most of the damage we cause to the planet is the result of our own ignorance.”
4. David Attenborough – for an 87 year old, imagine if he was your granddad?
The famous face, or rather voice, of nature surely deserves his place amongst our green leaders. Playing a pivotal role in the regular depiction of nature on our TV screens, providing a window to the vast world we live in and the need to treasure it – his role in bringing to light the need for environmental action across the world has shown that he has been equally important outside of the small box in which we see him.
“We are a plague on the Earth…It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us”
5. Alistair McGowan – brought many faces to the environmental movement
Well-known ambassador of WWF, patron of charity Trees for Cities and 4-time host of the British Environment and Media Awards as well as many other environmental awards. Using his celebrity status to highlight issues in the environment. His involvement in the environment includes collaboratively purchasing a strip of land to prevent the development of a third runway at Heathrow airport, publicly backing Solar Power and developing an old coach house into an eco-friendly residential home.
On battling for the environment – “It’s the drip-drip effect of lots of small actions by individuals that has created the problem. And lots of small actions in reverse can help undo the problem.”
Other fantastic leaders who narrowly missed out on the top 5:
6. Andy Wood – MD of Adnams, low carbon brewery leading light in how to do best by community / environment
7. Kevin McCloud – eco-design champion in the design / built environment)
8. Paul Poleman – 5 levers for change at Unilver
9. Chris Packham – host of SpringWatch and exe CEO of BATS
10. Prince Charles – has the ability to change things and scale-up Duchy of Cornwall etc
These environmental leaders span many different professions from retail to the brewery trade and all are:
Governments take note – each of these leaders saw the need for change and acted on this.
Who will be the next environmental leaders of the future?