Supermarket Sainsbury’s has announced that it has signed up to a new National Equality Standard (NES) as it continues its promotion of diversity.
Overseen by Ernst & Young, the NES is supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the CBI and is the first standard of its kind to work towards tackling inequality.
Companies will undertake “a robust assessment” to ensure that they meet seven standards outlined by the Board before trained NES assessors review documentation, ensure legal compliance and conduct “comprehensive” interviews before providing a detailed report on the outcome.
CEO of the NES Arun Batra explained:“The NES is here to help businesses navigate through the complex field of EDI (equality, diversity and inclusiveness) and ultimately make them realise the competitive advantage that comes from getting the people element of an organisation right.
“Sainsbury’s is amongst the 18 pioneering businesses that have already signed up. We are proud to have them on board and look forward to working with them in the future.”
Other businesses signed up include BT, Vodafone and EDF Energy and the standard hopes to encourage those involved to share ideas.
Sainsburys’ inclusion in the standard follows news earlier this week that the chain had reached a milestone in its partnership with Remploy, recruiting its 2000th candidate from the agency.
Part of the grocer’s ‘You Can’ initiative to help get people back into work, the partnership was launched in 2008 and Remploy called the pairing “groundbreaking”, noting that Sainsbury’s should be given credit for its commitment to inclusion.
Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey also praised the chain, commenting: “Work is central to well-being, and it is one of the best ways to increase independence, self-esteem and is central to someone’s identity.
“So thankfully savvy employers like Sainsbury’s recognise the huge benefits of supporting disabled people into employment, not just for the individuals themselves but for the skills and talents they bring to the organisation as a whole.
“I’d urge other employers to follow the example of Sainsbury’s and look hard at their recruitment and work practices to make sure they don’t miss out on the extensive talents of disabled people.”