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The Netherlands becomes second European country to launch Responsible Influence certificate program for content creators

Europe’s drive to create a responsible, ethical and sustainable influencer marketing industry gathers pace, as the Netherlands becomes the latest country to launch a responsible influence certificate program for content creators. 

Dutch woman in Amsterdam
Dutch woman in Amsterdam

The Netherlands has become the second European nation to create an influencer training and certificate course covering responsible and ethical advertising on social media. 

Inspired by the Certificate of Responsible Influence launched in France in 2020, the Dutch ‘Certified by’ certificate program aims to generate awareness amongst content creators of advertising rules and ethical practices with regards to labelling posts and consumer protection.

The Dutch initiative comprises a website — — that delivers comprehensive information on Dutch advertising law as it relates to influencer brand collaborations. outlines the Dutch legal and regulatory environment for labelling content across all social media platforms and content formats, and for types of collaborations such as paid, gifting or affiliate. It also outlines specific advertising laws for creators with more than 500K followers on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.  

Led by industry association Data-Driven Marketing Association (DDMA) in collaboration with Dutch advertising self-regulatory organisation Stichting Reclame Code (SRC)  and the Dutch Media Authority, the Dutch initiative is especially notable for the support it has received from major market players like Nestlé, Unilever, L’Oréal, Heineken, and Coca-Cola, amongst others. 

“As the number four advertiser worldwide and a true believer of influencer marketing, we are incredibly proud as L’Oréal Netherlands to endorse the new initiative ‘Certified by’,” L’Oréal Benelux CDMO Marc Duquesnoy wrote on LinkedIn.  
“A sector initiative through which influencers and creators can demonstrate their awareness of all laws and regulations regarding influencer marketing. Together, we are working towards a more transparent and professional influencer sector that not only thrives but is also ethically responsible.”

Europe: Responsible Influence movement gathers pace as advertising SROs take decisive action

The introduction of the Dutch certification for responsible influence is part of a Europe-wide trend to inject more sustainable and responsible practices into the influencer marketing industry. 

While just two countries, France and the Netherlands, have launched influencer training and certificate programs to date, a further 12 European advertising self-regulatory organisations (SROs) are currently developing similar programs, according to SRO umbrella organisation European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA). 

Supported by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), the EASA has created an online toolkit and training course template to help SROs develop influencer training programs, and customise them for local specificities. 

The EASA advice covers advertising rules and transparency requirements, honesty in advertising, social responsibility, environmental and sustainability issues, and advertising for children and teens.  

Like the French and Dutch initiatives, the influencer certification programs will incorporate Influencer Marketing Standards Training (IMST) and on-going monitoring of influencer advertising on social media. Since 2020, 13 European SROs have conducted data-driven monitoring of online advertising, according to the EASA. 

The action by the EASA to support the creation of accessible and affordable influencer training courses follows a steady increase in complaints about influencer advertising on social media in recent years. Of 50,000 complaints handled by the European SR network in 2022, 32% of those related to online ads were about influencer marketing, according to the EASA. 

Germany: Moving fast generate greater awareness amongst influencers about responsibility in advertising

While the EASA expects most countries to have influencer training courses implemented by early 2025, the German Advertising Council (Werberat) plans to launch its influencer training and certificate program this Summer. 

“[A certificate] course is something to offer the creators to also show that they are able to understand the issues and to self-regulate. We thought it was a good idea,” German Advertising Council head of European Affairs Stefanie Lefeldt told Kolsquare in a recent interview

Lefeldt says although influencer marketing in Germany is highly regulated under a series of advertising laws that pertain to advertising generally, raising awareness amongst influencers and content creators of their obligations remains difficult. 

“A lot of rules are already in place and influencers are already regulated pretty well. Advertising cosmetic surgery or gambling, for example, is totally regulated in Germany. The law may not specify ‘influencer’ but it covers all advertising, whether it's on TV or by an influencer,” Lefeldt said. 

One of the clear advantages of creating an online training course is that it can be appended in line with changing issues in the marketplace, such as the impact of ‘finfluencers’ or the ethical issues arising from promotion of fast-fashion brands, said Lefeldt.

Supported by major brands, movement to ensure an ethical influencer marketing industry appears unstoppable

In addition to supporting and favouring certified creators for collaborations, many brands like L’Oréal, and industry associations, have introduced ethical charters and best practice guides to govern influencer partnerships. 

In France, for example, industry trade association UMICC (Union des Métiers d’Influence et des Créateurs de Contenu), last week released a series of Ethical Charters for brands, creators and agents, which will be binding for all members. 

“These Ethical Charters represent a major step forward in ensuring a responsible and sustainable future for our industry. We have tried to be exhaustive, yet pragmatic, in covering the full range of issues that our promising industry is facing, and to provide guidance in how best to respond,” said Kolsquare Founder and CEO, and UMICC Ethics Committee Vice President Quentin Bordage

In France, some 1,400 content creators have completed the ARPP Responsible Influence Certificate, while some 340 Dutch creators have already been ‘Certified by 

“I'm convinced that this movement, as it did in France, will promote a more transparent and professional influencer marketing sector, that not only flourishes but that is also more responsible,” said Bordage.    

The Dutch website invites influencers and content creators to enrol in an e-learning session, and receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course to share with brands and advertisers. 

The ‘Certified by’ training course will be free of charge until August 31, 2024, after which it will cost €50. The course must be completed by content creators; talent managers and agencies are excluded from playing a role. 

Successful completion of the certificate ensures Dutch influencers are aware of advertising rules for transparency and ethical content. Certified influencers are included in a registry on the website. 

According to Kolsquare data, there are 25K Dutch influencers on Instagram, and 19K on TikTok, with >20% of their audience in the Netherlands. 

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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