Market researchers have a long, positive tradition of self-regulation. A new public consultation on how the EU will treat self-regulation in future allows the research sector to promote its expertise.

As part of a plan to promote corporate social responsibility in Europe, the European Commission has embarked on a work programme to codify good practice in voluntary, self- and co-regulation processes.

ESOMAR, together with EFAMRO, intends to respond to this public consultation which asks interested stakeholders, such as professional associations, to comment on a new code of conduct entitled: “Effective Open Voluntarism: Good design principles for self- and co-regulation and other multi-stakeholder actions”.


The code recommends that all participants to the code:

  • are fully accountable and new participants should be subject to targets to bring them up to the speed of current participants
  • should commit the means to achieve their goals
  • have their performance assessed through detailed, transparent and objective monitoring
  • agree that reporting of performance monitoring results must regularly be made public.
  • impose obligations on any other participant to outline how they intend to improve if found non-compliant.
  • operate a system allowing complaints to be evaluated by independent assessors, with any panel comprising a majority of independent individuals. Non-compliance is subject to a graduated scale of penalties, including exclusion.


The public consultation will not only gather comments on the draft Code, but also develop a cross-EU and multi-sectoral Network of Excellence, including the sharing of useful reference material and best practices in self-regulation. Furthermore, it will gather knowledge, ideas and opinions about how to ensure that voluntarism receives its appropriate share of attention in the policy-making toolbox.

The project will be realised within a short time-frame. After careful analysis of all the contributions, the Commission will propose a final draft for the Code and accompanying actions for the end of 2012 or early 2013. This code will be open for signatures to all interested stakeholders.

All interested market, social and opinion researchers are welcome to contribute their thoughts on the draft code to ESOMAR at until Wednesday, 5 September.

More details about the Commission’s consultation, open on its website until 30 September, are accessible at:

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