IABC Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators


As a professional communicator, you have the potential to influence economies and affect lives. This power carries with it significant responsibilities.

The International Association of Business Communicators requires its members to agree to the IABC Code of Ethics. This code serves as a guide to making consistent, responsible, ethical and legal choices in all of our communications.

IABC’s Code of Ethics

  1. I am honest—my actions bring respect for and trust in the communications profession.
  2. I communicate accurate information and promptly correct any errors.
  3. I obey laws and public policies; if I violate any law or public policy, I act promptly to correct the situation.
  4. I protect confidential information while acting within the law.
  5. I support the ideals of free speech, freedom of assembly, and access to an open marketplace of ideas.
  6. I am sensitive to others’ cultural values and beliefs.
  7. I give credit to others for their work and cite my sources.
  8. I do not use confidential information for personal benefit.
  9. I do not represent conflicting or competing interests without full disclosure and the written consent of those involved.
  10. I do not accept undisclosed gifts or payments for professional services from anyone other than a client or employer.
  11. I do not guarantee results that are beyond my power to deliver.

IABC’s Code of Ethics in practice

IABC requires its members to embrace these ethical guidelines in their work and to sign the following statement as part of the application and renewal processes: “I have reviewed and understand the IABC Code of Ethics.”

The association reserves the right to terminate membership for any member found guilty of violating the code, laws and public policies.

The IABC Code of Ethics is freely available to everyone—you are welcome to copy it and incorporate all or part of the code into your own personal or corporate policies, with appropriate credit given to IABC.

IABC Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee offers advice and assistance to communicators regarding specific ethical situations and assists with professional development activities dealing with ethics. Each member agrees to strict conflict of interest and confidentiality guidelines.

Members of the Ethics Committee are nominated in an open process and selected by the IABC Executive Committee. All committee members are IABC members with long-standing credentials and experience in the profession. Each member serves a staggered, two-year term.

For assistance with ethical issues

If you have questions or comments about professional ethics, please email a member of the Ethics Committee (listed on the IABC website). Discretion and confidentiality is always paramount, but cannot be guaranteed. Any ethical concerns that involve violation of law will be referred to the appropriate legal authority(ies).

You may also contact IABC world headquarters, where you will be referred to the current Ethics Committee chairperson.