Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals Importance of Industry Engagement as North American Energy Renaissance Continues

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Edelman has released energy industry data from its 2014 Trust Barometer, revealing that trust in energy ranks tenth out of the 15 industries included in the annual survey. The survey, which asks, "How much do you trust the energy industry to do what is right?", reveals that trust in energy is currently at 59 percent among the informed public in both Canada and the U.S., signaling the need to increase meaningful engagement as the industry landscape across oil, mining, natural gas, utilities and renewables rapidly evolves.

Spurred by increased oil and gas production, North America's energy renaissance continues to influence both policy deliberations and public debate around some of the most pressing issues of our time, including energy and the environment, economic growth, U.S. competitiveness, foreign policy and international development.

The study also shows that trust in government, a key driver of energy regulation and policy, is critically low in the U.S. at 37 percent, which can have tremendous implications for the energy industry. Opportunity also lies in affecting policy outcomes—68 percent of people in North America believe the energy industry should play a larger role in the policy debate.

"Energy companies rely on partnerships with government to get things done in terms of basic operations more than any other industry," said Jay Andrew, Edelman's U.S. energy sector Lead. "Low trust in industry and even lower trust in government is exacerbated in times of energy crises and ironically, it is precisely during these times that they have to work most closely together. The suboptimal level of trust creates a difficult dynamic—a potentially crippling one."

Across the broader U.S. energy mix, renewables top the list at 67 percent, followed by utilities and natural gas at 58 and 57 percent, respectively. Additionally, mining and oil fall to the bottom of the list at 44 and 37 percent, respectively. Factors driving this trust rating in energy include cost, reliability, sustainability and cleanliness. Major crisis events also impact trust levels as well as supply fears. But trust is also underscored by the energy industry's engagement in terms of public opinion, policy, media coverage and NGO activity.

"In this ecosystem of trust, the typically low profile and limited engagement of the energy industry with communities, media and NGOs is a key trust driver," said Amy Hemingway, Edelman's global energy sector Lead. "This presents an opportunity for energy companies to engage and partner with these groups and foster trust, which in turn positively affects their license to operate."

The trust environment has changed significantly since Edelman's Trust Barometer made its debut in 2000. Most notably, respondents are calling for action from business, with 86 percent of those polled believing that companies can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and societal conditions in the communities where they operate. People trust business to innovate, unite and deliver across borders in a way that government can't. As the North American energy renaissance continues, the energy industry must embrace increased engagement in order to retain its license to operate and preserve trust among communities and other key stakeholders.

About the Edelman Trust Barometer
The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer is the firm's 14th annual trust and credibility survey. The survey was produced by research firm Edelman Berland and consisted of 20-minute online interviews conducted October 16, 2013November 29, 2013. The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer online survey sampled 27,000 general population respondents with an oversample of 6,000 informed publics ages 25-64 across 27 countries. All informed publics met the following criteria: college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week. For more information, visit: http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/trust-2014/.

About Edelman
Edelman is the world's largest public relations firm, with 67 offices and more than 4,800 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. Edelman was named Advertising Age's top-ranked PR firm of the decade in 2009 and one of its "A-List Agencies" in both 2010 and 2011; Adweek's "2011 PR Agency of the Year;" PRWeek's "2011 Large PR Agency of the Year;" and The Holmes Report's "2013 Global Agency of the Year" and its 2011 "North American Large Agency of the Year." Edelman was named one of the "Best Places to Work" by Advertising Age in 2010 and 2012 and among Glassdoor's top five "2011 Best Places to Work." Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Berland (research), Blue (advertising), BioScience Communications (medical communications), and agencies Edelman Significa (Brazil), and Pegasus (China). Visit http://www.edelman.com for more information.

For more information, contact:
Bridget Kemps
bridget.kemps@edelman.com

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