In a nutshell: Edelman’s fifth annual Trust Barometer Special Report reveals new investor expectations on ESG, climate change, shareholder activism, employee activism and the meme stock phenomenon. However, investors are skeptical of ESG disclosures and commitments.

The Numbers:

  • 82 percent of the surveyed of 700 investors across the world believe companies frequently overstate or exaggerate their ESG progress when disclosing results.
  • Of the seven countries and regions surveyed, investors from the United States had the second-highest percentage (86 percent) of skepticism on corporate ESG progress, with only German investors (87 percent) more wary of such claims.
  • 72 percent of investors globally don’t believe companies will achieve their ESG commitments. However, American investors were more optimistic (62 percent) than their international peers.
  • While 94 percent of U.S. investors expect companies to establish and communicate a Net Zero plan — a staggering 92 percent are concerned companies are not effectively executing on these pledges

Tell me more:

“Investor priorities and expectations are changing rapidly and companies that do not keep up will struggle to win trust,” said Lex Suvanto, who leads Edelman’s financial communications and capital markets division. “These are disruptive forces across the investment community that corporate boards and leaders must embrace to ensure competitive cost of capital and fair valuations.” At the same time, investors now see employee activism as a sign of a healthy corporate culture.

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