Avis Budget Group Inc. received CEO Cancer Gold Standard accreditation on Sept. 13, in recognition of the company’s commitment to the health of its employees and families. The honor was presented by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization of U.S.-based corporate CEOs that operates in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, regional cancer centers and nonprofit health organizations and professionals.

The CEO Cancer Gold Standard calls for companies to evaluate their health benefits and corporate culture and take extensive, concrete actions in five key areas of health and wellness to fight cancer in the workplace.

To earn Gold Standard accreditation, a company must establish programs to reduce cancer risk by discouraging tobacco use; encourage physical activity; promote a healthy diet and nutrition; eliminate benefit program barriers for the early detection of cancer; and provide access to quality care, including participation in cancer clinical trials.

Under Avis Budget Group’s CEO Ron Nelson, the company has launched a program of healthy initiatives, including a wellness campaign that offers a wide range of tools and resources to help employees strive for excellent health and make informed decisions; medical plan contribution incentives, and lower-cost life insurance for nonsmokers and smokers who participate in smoking cessation programs; diet and nutrition information and counseling; campaigns to encourage physical activity and discounts on gym memberships; annual individual health assessments and physical examinations with no co-pay for those enrolled in the company-sponsored medical plans; and healthcare management tools and disease management programs.

In addition, in late 2009, Avis Budget Group also instituted a tobacco-free policy for all employees and contractors who drive its vehicles and became the first rental car company to offer a 100 percent smoke-free fleet by prohibiting smoking in Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car vehicles in the United States and Canada. In April 2011, the company designated all its locations and administrative offices as "tobacco free."

Avis Budget Group was supported in its bid for Gold Standard accreditation by the American Cancer Society, whose national office is also a Gold Standard accredited workplace. Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network awarded Nelson the 2011 Donald A. Gemson Cancer Prevention Public Policy Award.

"Our commitment to promoting healthy choices by our employees and lowering the risks and costs associated with the disease is unwavering," said Mr. Nelson. "I’m proud to accept the honor on behalf of the more than 21,000 employees at Avis Budget Group."

The CEO Roundtable on Cancer was founded in 2001, and is a comprehensive program designed to combat cancer from every angle by focusing on prevention, early detection and quality care.