The ICC/ESOMAR International Code

The ICC/ESOMAR International Code on Market, Opinion and Social Research and Data Analytics sets the standard of ethical and professional conduct for the global data, research and insights community. It is enforced worldwide by a global values-based partnership.

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.

The heritage

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.

Don't speak English?

Download the ICC/ESOMAR International Code on Market, Opinion and Social Research and Data Analytics in your local language.

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.

Duty of Care

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 Passingham
ESOMAR Committee Member, Chair of the Professional Standards Committee at ESOMAR
Kathy Joe
ESOMAR Staff, Consultant to ESOMAR PSC at ESOMAR
Georgiana Degeratu
ESOMAR Committee Member, Policy Manager - Marketing and Advertising at International Chamber of Commerce
Melanie Courtright
Chief Executive Officer at Insights Association
Prof. Dr. Raimund Wildner
ESOMAR Committee Member, Vice-President at Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions
Annie Pettit, PhD, CAIP, FCRIC
Chief Research Officer, North America at E2E Research Services Pvt Ltd
Vinay Ahuja
VP of Analytics & Insights, P&G Europe at Procter & Gamble
Philippe Guilbert
ESOMAR Committee Member, Consultant at Syntec Conseil