An important new report out today has benchmarked universities from across England on their environmental and corporate responsibility performance. It then reveals how they rate against UK businesses. As institutional performance benchmarking evolves and becomes a mainstream business tool for university managers, this is a significant report for the Higher Education Sector. Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Leeds Metropolitan University in partnership with Business in the Community (BITC) and the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), have tested the appropriateness of Business in the Community's Corporate Responsibility Index and Environment Index for the Higher Education Sector. The environmental sector is one of the most rapidly expanding sectors across the globe yet many universities are struggling to get to grips with how to respond. Mark Warner, Project Manager, Leeds Metropolitan University said, "The ultimate goal is to integrate environmental and corporate responsibility into the DNA of all organisations and their employees." The project concludes that the benchmarking tools developed by BITC are appropriate and offer much to the Higher Education sector. Patrick Mallon, Director, BITC said, "We believe this work has proven that a voluntary exercise that engages and shares experiences is a winning formula and we look forward to using it to engage all universities who want to play a full part in responsible business practice." Only five of the participating institutions fell within the Business Environment Index of 2005 Top 100, yet strong sector results were gained in Workplace Diversity and Social Impact. Iain Patton, Executive Director, EAUC, said "Whilst this report illustrates universities are taking the first steps towards environmental and corporate responsibility it also highlights that there is a long journey to go before they are flagship organisations." The report findings are being presented to HEFCE with the recommendation to continue and further develop the Higher Education Benchmarking Project.