The Brussels-based European Association of Communications Agencies has issued its first code of ethics.

The EACA, whose members account for some 80% of pan-European media spend, has spent eighteen months in consultation with more than 500 agency bosses and staff and fifty advertisers to produce the European Code of Ethics.

It provides agency management and individual practitioners with practical guidelines to deal with often complex ethical issues across the sector and give clients and other parties a clearer idea of what they can expect from agencies.

Says EACA president James Best: "We now believe that it is critical for the agency sector to express, and work by, an ethical code which governs what we do as individuals and as businesses in our own right - not just as extensions of our clients."

Adds Mike Longhurst, McCann Erickson's representative on the EACA board: "In a business that is well used to working in a highly regulated environment, it was readily recognised by most parties that this was not just another set of rules, but formalisation of ethical standards that we have always tried to live by. It is focused less on the content of advertising we create and far more on how we behave."

Data sourced from Institute of Practitioners in Advertising; additional content by WARC staff