Trust and Consequences - A blog by Christine Arena

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Trust and Consequences - A blog by Christine Arena

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The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggers offer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.

Monday, August 23, 2010 - 7:03pm


Why do some companies win public trust and others lose it? That’s a question more people are asking themselves, as global faith in business remains unfortunately fragile. Turns out the trust deficit, a trend on the rise for ten years now, is more than a mere wrinkle on the face of capitalism. It’s a pressing concern for every shareholder.

When companies lose trust, they often lose capital. Case in point: Gulf disaster stocks BP, Halliburton, Transocean and Anadarko each sank between 25 and 45 percent during the past four months. The Goldman Sachs-SEC debacle pushed company shares down by 15 percent, and the Dow down by 130 points. Massey stock plunged 42 percent following a deadly string of safety failures. Toyota shares dropped 16 percent following its massive recall. And as of today, none of these companies has fully rebounded, indicating the markets grow slower to forgive.

“The last couple of years have provided plenty of reasons for a building sense of mistrust,” says Motley Fool’s Alyce Lomax. “Goldman Sachs and BP have become the most recent high-profile examples of the many big institutions whose highly paid managers seem to be only out for themselves. ”

Indeed, the lost faith Lomax describes seems to be the principle reason why many more investors demand greater honesty, disclosure, transparency, and professionalism from corporations – and flee stocks that don’t deliver. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article on the topic: “Small investors’ faith in stocks, which surged in the 1990s, has collapsed since the technology-stock debacle and the Enron and WorldCom scandals of 2000-2002…Investors talk of a growing disillusionment with big institutions, including corporations, government, banks and political parties.”


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