The ESOMAR Foundation and the Paragon Partnership

Phyllis MacFarlane – Treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation, speaks about her experience between the ESOMAR Foundation and the Paragon Partnership.

Are you familiar with the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ?  (The first is to end poverty, and the second is to end hunger – it’s always been something of a relief to me that it is someone’s job to end world hunger!). But I digress – my question is: do you think that the market research industry can do anything to help the UN achieve these goals?

Well, many people in the Industry believe that we can. And so they have set up Paragon  – with the determination to use data and insight to improve people’s lives.

Here’s what it says on the website. The Paragon Partnerships has been created to infuse insights that will help to tackle the 17-point plan of the UN Global Goals – end poverty, combat climate change, and fight injustice and inequality around the world. Paragon brings  Research Companies and their Clients together in partnership to generate and provide access to quality insights on the issues that the world is facing, helping Governments, Academics and NGO’s around the world to accomplish their goals.

Wow!!! – isn’t that something?! – and, what’s more, this is music to our ears at the ESOMAR Foundation – remember our philanthropy programme: ‘Better Results’?  – it’s aim is to bring the worlds of market research and philanthropy together to  bring the skills and expertise of market researchers to help NGO’s better identify ‘customer’ need and measure the impact and effectiveness of their programmes.

A perfect match with Paragon

So, we as ESOMAR Foundation, are very excited and proud to be ESOMAR’s representative on the Paragon Committee.

On May 17th, I attended the first  meeting, which was hosted by Unilever in their London Offices and attended in person or by phone by a host of agencies, clients and NGO’s.

As you might expect of a first meeting on a very big project, the discussion was varied and wide ranging . The bulk of the meeting was spent discussing an opportunity to partake in an official UN meeting on the 18th July, where the multi-agency partnerships working on the progress of the UN goals will be showcasing their work. Paragon has been invited to take part in this meeting in order to demonstrate what our initiative is all about and what the market research industry can bring to the table.

There are already projects looking at marketing, monitoring and planning around the global goals, but, as researchers,  we could bring the ‘why’ behind the perceptions of how people feel about the goals. The Paragon website states ‘We can change the world. We are determined to use data and insight to improve people’s lives’. Basically the MR Industry can add insight to understand the progress and impact of the SGD’s on ordinary people, and advise on perceived obstacles and barriers to help improve the effectiveness of implementation initiatives. We can do this using our expertise, plus additional data collected by the Industry, plus the wealth of open data generally available through Governments, NGO’s and other sources. (ie MR plus BIG Data).

The thought of the meeting was that we could split our approach into two parts, the short term (by 18th July) and the long term (on-going).

At the UN meeting in July we should focus on saying who we are, why we were formed and show the sort of insight we can bring, via a good example in a specific country. Then in the long term we plan to host an open-source platform of data and insights available to people working on the global goals.

At the moment we are working on identifying that key example which will demonstrate what we can do – our UN contacts are helping us. And we’re organising smaller teams to define specifics like data collection, how to make the data openly available etc etc.  There’s a way to go, and many people involved, but it’s so great that others in the global MR industry really agree with us that market research really can help the philanthropy sector do their work more effectively – and where better to start than with the UN ‘s new global goals! I’ll keep you all posted on all progress.

Phyllis MacFarlane