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Global Inclusion Benchmark results out

The results of this year's Global Inclusion Benchmark, declared by Employer's Forum on Disability, provide compelling evidence that disability is moving up the Corporate Social Responsibility agenda.

The Employer's Forum on Disability, an authoritative employers' voice on disability, has declared the results of this year's Global Inclusion Benchmark, sponsored by disability insurer, UnumProvident. The Benchmark, piloted last year, examines how companies communicate their commitment to disabled people in their social reports, providing a unique insight into the extent to which some of the world's leading corporations now address disability.

The Benchmark identifies 10 key areas where companies should report on disability with their social reports. Sixty-eight social reports were analysed (with quality assurance by Account Ability). This year's findings provide compelling evidence that disability is moving up the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda. Nonetheless, only 9 per cent of leading companies reported on disability as part of their CSR strategy.

The findings show that of the reports examined:
· 33 per cent of companies demonstrate a real commitment to disabled people in their social reports, compared to only 20 per cent of reports last year.
· 66 per cent include disability in their equal opportunities or diversity policy.
· 59 per cent report on programmes to improve recruitment, retention and career development prospects for disabled people.
· However, only 40 per cent of companies report on what they have done to improve their products and services for disabled customers.
· Only 2 per cent of companies report that they are listening to the concerns or their disabled stakeholders - employees, customers, community members and suppliers.

Employers' Forum on Disability is the authoritative employers' voice on disability as it affects business. Its members represent over 380 major organisations that currently employ more than 20 per cent of the UK workforce. The Forum works closely with disabled people, government and other stakeholders, sharing best practices to make it easier for business to employ disabled people and serve disabled customers.

UnumProvident is a leading UK provider of group income protection insurance, with over 42 per cent of the market. Its critical illness and life insurance products enable its customers to purchase complementary protection solutions that together make a comprehensive package. Account Ability's mission is to promote accountability for sustainable development. It has embraced an innovative, multi-stakeholder governance model, enabling the direct participation of its organisational and individual members who span business, civil society organisations, and the public sector from different countries across the world.

The top 10 companies ranked on the Employers' Forum on Disability Global Inclusion Benchmark criteria are:
1. BT
2. Centrica
3. The Co-operative Bank
4 Abbey National
5. CIS Co-operative Insurance
6. BAA
7. Kingfisher
8. Aviva
9. Novo Nordisk
10. Barclays

"At BT, we understand the contribution made by disabled people to our society and our economy as employees, customers, suppliers, business owners and investors," says Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive of BT Group. "Sustainable businesses must take account of the needs of at their stakeholders. In BT we apply audit standards to review how we do this and we are able to communicate our business strategy in an important and growing market place.

"Hopefully the example set by the Benchmark's top 10 will be followed by more and more business talking up this challenge."

It is worth noting that many of the top performers in the Benchmarks are members of the forum, the first business to business network to address disability from the perspective of the employer and service provider.