Maintaining the social licence to operate: 2018 KPMG – AICD Trust Survey

Hard on the heels of the Edelman Trust Barometer report for 2018 (see my post of 21 February – Less trust in NGOs), the report on the 2018 KPMG and AICD Trust Survey Maintaining the social license to operate confirms that Australia, “like many other nations around the world, is facing a crisis of trust in institutions.”

With over 30% of the respondents to the survey coming from the not-for-profit sector, the results should be of interest to associations, charities and other not-for-profit entities.

Key findings in the report include the following:

  • Less than half of company directors who responded felt that their board has a proactive approach to building trust with the organisation’s most important stakeholders.
  • Although company directors feel a greater sense of responsibility to the wider communities they serve, ‘internal culture and practices’ was voted by directors as the most critical issue relating to trust.
  • The factors contributing to trust are more dynamic and interrelated than ever before. There are simply too many issues to address them all with the same level of focus; boards must prioritise and focus on those that are most likely to impact their organisation and its stakeholders. The results, however, suggest a mixed picture in the extent to which organisations have formal processes for escalating trust issues to the board level.

KPMG AICD Trust chart

The authors argue that more action is needed:

“While change is happening in organisational governance in Australia the deepening  level of distrust signals a more significant change is needed.”

Board briefings

If you would like to arrange a Board or Audit and Risk Committee briefing or discussion on the issues raised in this post, please contact me on 0419 347 599 or email me at


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