What is the ICC/ESOMAR Code?
This Code is designed to be a comprehensive framework for self-regulation for those engaged in market, opinion and social research and data analytics. It sets essential standards of ethical and professional conduct designed to maintain public confidence in research while also requiring strict adherence to any relevant regional, national and local laws or regulations and industry/professional codes of conduct that may set a higher standard.
The Code ensures that researchers and analysts working with both traditional and new sources of data continue to meet their ethical, professional and legal responsibilities to the individuals whose data they use in research and to the clients and organisations they serve. It also is intended to safeguard the right of researchers to seek, receive and impart information as stated in Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
This Code applies to all research worldwide. Acceptance and observance of the Code are mandatory for ESOMAR Members and the members of other research associations that have adopted it.
ESOMAR published the first Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice in 1948. In subsequent years, a number of national bodies published their own codes.
In 1976, ESOMAR and ICC (who had a related international code stemming from their Global Marketing and Advertising Code of Conduct) agreed that it would be preferable to have a single international code. A joint ICC/ESOMAR Code was published the following year. This 1977 code was revised and updated in 1986, 1994 and, most recently, in 2007. More than 60 associations in over 50 countries have adopted or endorsed it.
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Associations that have adopted the ICC/ESOMAR Code
Three core principles to guarantee ethical conduct
You commit to transparency when collecting personal data from participants.
This includes being transparent about what information is collected, why it is collected, with whom it will be shared, and in what form.
You commit to protecting personal data collected and used from unauthorised access or sharing.
This is particularly for any information directly collected or re-used in your projects and information shared with other parties.
You commit to a duty of care that prevents harm to participants or reputational damage.
This goes from ethical behaviour to protect participants to ethical behaviour towards business partners and the public.
Project team of the ICC ESOMAR International Code
Judith PassinghamESOMAR Committee Member, Chair of the Professional Standards Committee at ESOMAR
Judith Passingham has worked in the Market Research industry for over 35 years, in many different roles from General Management, Client Account Leadership, Service Development, to Sales and Operations – on a Global and European basis.
She started her career at the British Market Research Bureau working on the TGI and various media measurements, then working at AGB, subsequently TNS where she ran the UK and then global panel division as CEO of ‘Worldpanel ‘ and as Joint CEO of Europanel – a joint venture between TNS and GFK.
Judith was appointed CEO of TNS Europe and then following the WPP acquisition of TNS oversaw the integration of RI and TNS in Northern and Eastern Europe. In 2014 Judith joined Ipsos to run its Access Panel services where she drove service integration into one global entity, launched device agnostic interviewing and programmatic sampling.
In 2016 she took on responsibility for Ipsos’s Operational capability. She retired in 2019 and volunteers for Pilotlight and for the Maple Lodge Nature Reserve. In January 2020 she was appointed as Chair of the Professional Standards Committee for ESOMAR.
Kathy JoeESOMAR Staff, Consultant to ESOMAR PSC at ESOMAR
Kathy Joe served for many years as Director of International Standards and Public Affairs at ESOMAR before retiring in 2016. She currently still works periodically for ESOMAR as its Editorial Consultant for Research World.
Prior to working for ESOMAR, Kathy worked at The Economist and Euromoney and gained a BSc Hons in Politics and Sociology from the University of Southampton in the UK.
With a passion for research and insights and long experience in working with global teams to formulate editorial content, privacy policies and professional standards, she has worked with research professionals from around the world on far-ranging topics including innovation and best practice in consumer insights, knowledge and strategy.
As ESOMAR Director of International Standards, Kathy led the development and promotion of global research codes and privacy guidelines.
She volunteers for projects with NGOs such as Amnesty International and is a Board Member and Secretary of Dance Connects.
Georgiana DegeratuESOMAR Committee Member, Policy Manager - Marketing and Advertising at International Chamber of Commerce
Melanie CourtrightChief Executive Officer at Insights Association
Melanie serves as the Chief Executive Officer at the Insights Association. As the leading voice, resource and network of the marketing research and data analytics community, the Insights Association helps its members create competitive advantage by investing in quality standards, legal and business advocacy, education, certification and direct support that enables our members to thrive in an evolving industry and drive business impact.
Melanie has spent more than 25 years designing, executing, and interpreting research for agencies and corporations, and is an industry voice in market research for quality, trends and the next generation of data collection. Known as an expert methodologist, she started her career at a full-service research firm in Dallas where she spent ten years developing her strong research background. She then followed that with a decade specializing in all forms of digital research including online, mobile and social. Melanie has successfully developed and launched leading sampling platforms, routers, methodology best practices, panels and research products.
Melanie contributes to standards and codes of conduct, is heavily involved in chairing and speaking at industry events, and is an award winning writer, researcher, and voice of data quality and best practices.
Prof. Dr. Raimund WildnerESOMAR Committee Member, Vice-President at Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions
Prof. Dr. Raimund Wildner has been active at the GfK Group since 1984, helping to build the GfK BEHAVIORSCAN® micro test market starting in 1985, and in 1988 established the GfK Groupʼs Method and Product Development Department, which he ran until 2009. In 1995, he also became the managing director the GfK Verein and assumed the position of vice president ten years later as well. Currently, he is Vice President at Nuremberg Institute for Market Dicisions (NIM) e.V.
Raimund Wildner is the former honorary professor of business administration and statistics at the Faculty of Law and Economics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and was a regular guest lecturer at various colleges and universities. Furthermore, he has published numerous articles in the field of marketing science, particularly on the application of statistical methods in market research, and is co-author of the books „Panels in der Marktforschung“ and „Marktforschung – Grundlagen der Datenerhebung und Datenanalyse“.
Annie Pettit, PhD, CAIP, FCRICChief Research Officer, North America at E2E Research Services Pvt Ltd
Vinay AhujaVP of Analytics & Insights, P&G Europe at Procter & Gamble
Vinay Ahuja brings world-wide experience in market research, data analysis, AI, and consumer strategy and business leadership -- from the user/client perspective -- with a career spanning over 30 years in CPG with Procter & Gamble. He is currently Vice-President of European market operations at P&G.
He started his career in India and has lived and worked in China, Belgium, Dubai, and Switzerland, where he has led a variety of local, regional, and global roles in consumer insights and data analytics for P&G. Through these he has an opportunity to engage with a broad spectrum of partners across the world at various stages of evolution of our industry over the last three decades; co-develop, apply and experience first-hand the best of what we have to offer as insights and data analytics professionals and to raise our impact on brands, people and society; as well as work together with industry stakeholders to constructively address some of our most challenging issues over the years.
Vinay has been a long-standing member of ESOMAR since 2001 and has previously served on the Professional Standards Committee’s Client Sounding Board as well the Editorial board of the Research World. In 2022 he was nominated to the ESOMAR's list of Top250 industry leaders.
Philippe GuilbertESOMAR Committee Member, Consultant at Syntec Conseil
Philippe is the former Managing Director of Toluna France and Senior Vice President Quality of the Group. He is now a consultant in research methodology for companies and SYNTEC Conseil, and contributes to the dissemination of rules, standards and best practices in the industry through conferences, academic courses and articles, including his "Did you know?" section on the French website MRNews.
In the 1980s, he developed advanced statistics, survey methodologies and new marketing approaches in research agencies. Then in the 90s, he initiated the survey digitisation by launching an international panel of Internet users, the web audience measurement and the sampling/questionnaire adaptation to the Internet. In 2007, he joined Toluna, a French start-up, to bring his methodological expertise and make it the world's #2 online panel and survey solution.
Philippe is a member of the ESOMAR Professional Standards Committee since 2014.