by Krzysztof Kubacki

Every social change programme faces ethical challenges that need to be recognised, acknowledged and considered during the planning, development, delivery and evaluation stages. Behaviour change that affects individuals and communities should be developed and delivered in a way that demonstrates that any potential ethical issues have been addressed. That is why social marketing practice should be guided by ethical principles.

Following popular ethics sessions at the International Social Marketing conference in Singapore in July 2018 and at the European Social Marketing conference in September 2018, social marketing organisations, including Africa Social Marketing Association, Australian Association of Social Marketing, European Social Marketing Association, Latin America Social Marketing Association, Pacific Northwest Social Marketing Association, Social Marketing Association of North America and International Social Marketing Association, have agreed to establish a social marketing ethics experts panel and work collaboratively to develop a set of ethical principles that should be applied as part of the social marketing process.

Members of the panel – Krzysztof Kubacki (chair), Lynne Eagle, Jeff French, Jim Mintz, Duncan Musumba, Inés Besada Paullier, Diogo Verissimo and Dave Ward – have met five times since November last year to identify the resources currently available to social marketers, and discuss and develop a list of potential ethical principles that may provide foundation for a future social marketing code of ethics to guide effective and ethical practice in social marketing.

The initial outcomes of the discussions will be presented by Krzysztof and Jeff at the Ethics in Social Marketing session in June 2019 at the World Social Marketing Conference in Edinburgh. All conference participants are invited to attend the session to provide their feedback and inform future work on social marketing ethical principles. Full programme of the conference can be found here:

Members of the panel express their sympathy for the family of Jim Mintz who passed away peacefully in mid-April. Jim had a long and distinguished career in the Canadian communications industry. He made a significant contribution to the development of the ethics material you will see at this conference and he will be missed by those who have been fortunate to work with him.