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Paul opened with the message that consumer confidence is at an all time low and that the events of the last few years have further undermined people’s trust – in governments, international agencies, regulators, the providers of financial services and business generally.
The economic crisis and the failure of institutions to respond, he said, has triggered profound and lasting changes in people’s attitudes and behaviour, citing the move from ‘mindless to mindful consumption’ and consumers taking action through the power of social media.
Filling the leadership vacuum
He explained that the lack of trust in governments has opened up a power and leadership vacuum that responsible business can help to fill. He went on to talk about three elements on which this move needs to be based: