Do the right thing, always. Refreshing our approach to responsible marketing.

Our commitment to “Do the right thing, always” lies at the centre of everything we do. We believe that good intentions are not good enough, and that we can only achieve our goals through being a responsible business and following responsible marketing principles. We want to be a business which has a positive impact on society and the environment in which it operates, for now and for the future. Reckitt seeks to be a business which is transparent and builds trust and engagement with our stakeholders including consumers and partners and recognises that the nature of our commercial activities and marketing is continuously evolving.

We feel an imperative to guide our employees and partners on responsible marketing. Central to this approach is our commitment to comply with relevant local, national or international marketing standards, laws and regulations, including being guided by industry self-regulatory best practices.

When our existing Ethical Marketing Principles were initially created in 2015, we had not yet embedded brand Purpose and Sustainability into Reckitt, as we have today.  Nor had we fully foreseen the growing importance of Digital, and its multiple channels for marketers to speak with consumers.

Brands now have far greater amounts of consumer Information, with the responsibility to source and sort this data responsibly to ensure consumer trust, which our new Responsible Marketing Principles and Policy recognise.

Our new Responsible Marketing Principles and Policy also acknowledge that our marketers can now move beyond traditional marketing tools and techniques, adopting a more Entrepreneurial approach to their craft, where partnering with third parties is even more key.

Against this ever-evolving marketing backdrop, Reckitt has also introduced a new Purpose, Fight and Compass in 2020, and we launched our new Sustainability Ambitions in 2021.

It is therefore time to update our Ethical Marketing Principles, which remained in place from their creation in 2015 until this evolution into new Responsible Marketing Principles.  These link to and reinforce relevant Reckitt policies (for example our Privacy Policy) and our Code of Conduct.  In addition, we are taking the opportunity to introduce a new policy written with our marketing colleagues in mind: the Responsible Marketing Policy.

Our Responsible Marketing Principles capture the core guidance of how our Compass, Purpose, Fight, Code of Conduct and Leadership Behaviours translate into how we approach marketing.  They are designed to help people understand the most important considerations in carrying out their daily work.  

Our Responsible Marketing Policy takes these Principles and translates them into clear requirements for anyone involved in preparing marketing communications and activities. Colleagues across the business are being trained on the new Responsible Marketing Policy. Compliance with the Responsible Marketing Policy will be monitored and our progress presented in our Annual Reports.

The new Responsible Marketing Principles and Responsible Marketing Policy will apply to everyone – whether this is our marketers, other employees, or anyone else we may engage externally in carrying out marketing communications or activities on our behalf. For example, influencers, marketing agencies, suppliers, product innovation partners, non-governmental organisations, governments, academic institutions, retailers, advertising and media partners.

These apply to all communications or activities irrespective of nature or media type such as sponsorships, promotions, packaging, in store, on or offline, TV, radio, print, outdoor, cinema, websites, blogs, influencer marketing, social media or sponsored content, AI, connected packaging, banners, educational material.

They apply to all brands, whether global like Dettol, Lysol, Harpic, Finish, Durex, Enfamil, or local heroes, and across all product categories such as aircare, surface care, fabric treatment, infant formula, medicines, medical devices, food supplements and personal care products.

They apply irrespective of audience, whether consumers, patients, parents, care givers, businesses, NGOs, HCPs and any others.

We are committed to the roll out of the new Responsible Marketing Principles and Responsible Marketing Policy and ensuring effective adoption.  This is why we’re investing in a robust training and change management module, so that the employees impacted by this Policy understand what is required of them. Completion of the Responsible Marketing Policy training will be mandatory to all marketeers and available to all Reckitt employees.  

We’ll systematically measure compliance of the Policy through established key performance indicators.  We continue to process and monitor on an ongoing basis consumer, customer and employee feedback on our marketing, for example through our consumer care lines or our Speak Up Line.  

Our Responsible Marketing Principles

Everything we do in marketing must be legal, decent, honest, truthful, and guided by the ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code.  Read more about the ICC Code here.

This means our marketing must be credible and supported by documented evidence capable of standing up to rigorous scrutiny.

Our activities must never mislead consumers, nor be likely to do so. We must not omit key information and we must present our communication in a way that is understandable by our consumers at the moment that they receive it.  

To do the right thing, always. This is our promise and we ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure this is the case.

Consumers can count on us to deliver full transparency and associated information about ingredients, formats and packaging.

They can trust that none of our marketing communications and activities will be misleading.  We will be transparent about their commercial purpose, so they are clearly recognisable as marketing, whatever their form or medium used.  For example, a communication promoting the sale of a product will not be disguised as market research, consumer surveys, user-generated content, private blogs, private postings on social media or independent reviews.

Consumers demand fair and transparent pricing, and so do we. Read about our approach to this in the Reckitt Code of Conduct here.

Product safety is key to us.  We will ensure that we are doing all we can to ensure consumers have all the information to promote safe, responsible use and self-care in our products.  The information we provide will not contain any visual portrayal or any description of potentially dangerous practices, or situations, which show a disregard for safety or health, as defined by local, national or international standards, laws and regulations.

We will take any steps needed to safeguard consumers in the safe use of our products, both at home and in the workplace.  We take seriously activities such as the use of safety caps or taking measures to keep potentially harmful products away from children.

Read more about our commitment to product quality and safety commitments here.

We know that our consumers’ digital habits have changed dramatically in recent years, as have the expectations of consumers and regulators around the world.  This is why, at Reckitt, we pay special attention to our digital activity and processing of data, and reinforce our commitment to respecting consumers’ Privacy through our Responsible Marketing Policy.

We are strongly committed to protecting the privacy of those who entrust us with personal data. We will only collect data when necessary, use it fairly and protect it in accordance with legal requirements.  As expectations and technology evolve, we will evolve to sustain this commitment.

Read more about our Privacy Policy here.

Our marketing communications and activities take special care when directed to, or featuring, teens or children.  Children and teens featured in our advertisements will be fairly represented and fully protected.

We will not directly advertise to children under the age of 13.  We believe, as part of our Reckitt Purpose and Fight, in improving health and wellness outcomes for families through responsible and carefully considered educational programmes.

With reference to infant nutrition, we have a dedicated policy. Read more about our Breast Milk Substitute Policy here.

We believe passionately in representing the diversity of our consumers across the world to respect human dignity, avoid stereotypes and never condone violence, antisocial behaviour or discrimination of any kind.  

We are training our marketers on how to approach diversity and inclusion based on industry standard guides such as the WFA guide to Diversity & Representation, assess marketing communications against it and work with the industry to support its evolution. More detail on the WFA guide can be found here.

We also work with our suppliers towards a fairer society that respects human rights.  We capture this work in our Human Rights and Responsible Business policy, which can be found here.

As a Reckitt team we believe we are stronger together.  This value extends to all our partners in our desire to serve communities all over the world.  Those partners include influencers, marketing agencies, suppliers, product innovation partners, non-governmental organisations, governments, academic institutions, retailers, advertising and media partners.

We carefully engage these partners to ensure a common goal and shared responsible marketing standards as we work together to drive responsible marketing into everything we do. 

To enable this, all Reckitt partners are asked to sign up to the Reckitt Third Party Code of Conduct. Read more about this here.

We will ensure we continuously work on innovation to reduce our environmental footprint and maximise our social impact.  We will not overstate the sustainability attributes and impact of our products.

We will work at every stage of the product lifecycle, all the way from sourcing to manufacturing, through to consumer usage and disposal of our packaging.  To understand our approach and priorities please read about out Sustainability Ambitions to 2030 and beyond here

Our marketing communications and activities are guided by our internal global sustainability claims guidance as well as the ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code.