ESOMAR Professional Standards is the complaints and queries handling platform of associations representing the global data, research and insights community nationally and internationally. It forms an integral part of the community’s so-called self-regulation.

Together with over 60 national and international associations, we have established a global community of members who voluntarily adhere to the ICC/ESOMAR International Code (and equivalent national codes). Our community represents the majority of the providers and clients forming the data, research and insights sector. Our associations have 70+ years experience in managing the self-regulation framework established voluntarily by data, research and insights professionals to demonstrate to the public their commitment to responsible and ethical behaviour when conducting data, research and insights projects for businesses, charities, and governments alike. ESOMAR Professional Standards was initially funded by ESOMAR, the global voice for the data, research and insights community in close partnership and support of national associations representing the data, research and insights community. Development was made possible through the help of ADM (DE), ANEIMO/AEDEMO (ES), JMRA (JP), MRS (UK), and SAMRA (ZA) who patiently tested the platform. ESOMAR Professional Standards is maintained and further developed thanks to annual subscription fees from all participating associations.

What is self regulation for data, research and insights?

Self regulation for us, as a sector, means taking responsibility and being accountable and ethical for the way we collect and use personal details in research. It also extends to ensuring that the research results are verifiable, trustworthy, and appropriately communicated to the public. It is a voluntary effort that allows the members of participating associations and the sector more widely to benefit from fit-for-purpose requirements and guidance that matches closely with their business realities. For the public, the benefits of effective self regulation includes more accountable businesses that meet their corporate social responsibility, and also reduces the cost of public sector oversight as governments can save on the costs of regulating when it is effectively conducted.

The role of ESOMAR in our self-regulation

ESOMAR Professional Standards is an integral tool in improving the effectiveness of our self-regulation. Through it, complainants and responders can see the live-status of their complaints and the decisions that result from our examination of a case brought to a participating association.

Whilst during the case, ESOMAR Professional Standards associations guarantee the confidentiality of the proceedings, cases that are concluded and resolved may further result in us sharing best practice guidance to participating association members to ensure we, as a sector, continually strengthen our professional standards.

The confidentiality of participants is always maintained, so even when we publish guidance we keep the exact identity of participants private except when the decision is a sanction to issue a published warning.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that participating associations do not hesitate to investigate and take action on the basis of valid and verified complaints that indicate one of our associations’ participating member has failed in their obligations deriving from our Codes of Conduct.

What is data, research, and insights?

Data, research and insights supports all businesses from start-ups to the world­’s largest multinationals and it accelerates the work of charities and governments to achieve social change. It is a €70 billion sector, employing over 135.000 people worldwide.


Data, research and insights are used to measure markets, guide new product developments, increase consumer understanding and enable business growth.


Data, research and insights is being used by charities to support advocacy campaigning and raise social understanding.


Data, research and insights is being used by governments to improve the quality and responsiveness of public services and guide policies.