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HRC publishes ‘Buying for Equality 2007’ guidelines
Report gives consumers guidelines for buying from LGBT-friendly companies

by Brad Luna
WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s a must for any fair-minded shopper! The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) publication, “Buying for Equality,” breaks products into easily distinguishable purchasing categories. Companies and their products are compared using the criteria of the HRC Foundation’s nationally respected Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates LGBT workplace policies and practices.

“When the American consumer hits the malls we hope our guide, ‘Buying for Equality,’ will be in their hands,” says HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Every single day, those who support equality have an opportunity to vote and put their values into action by utilizing their pocketbooks. Our community has billions of dollars worth of buying power. By purchasing products from companies supporting LGBT equality, you are sending a message that will be heard loud and clear.”

This is the second year the HRC has published “Buying for Equality,” a powerful tool to empower equality-minded shoppers. Last year, the guide was downloaded off of HRC’s website more than 250,000 times.

The popular guide draws comparisons between products, services and retail outlets that consumers use on a daily basis. For example, this year’s guide includes comparisons between retail giants Gap, which receives a “green” rating with a 100 percent, perfect, score, and Abercrombie & Fitch, which receives a “yellow” rating with only a 50 percent score.
The ratings are based upon the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, which this year found more than half of Fortune 500 companies now offer domestic partnership benefits to their employees. Also, this nationally recognized report showed that 138 companies received a perfect 100 percent score this year — a tenfold increase in only four years.

Seventy percent of LGBT individuals are very or extremely likely to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits for gay and lesbian employees, according to research by Witeck-Combs Communications and Harris Interactive.

“I encourage consumers this year to take a moment to support companies that support equality,” Solmonese continued. “This holiday season, each one of us can do our part to help secure equality for all Americans.”

Background on the 2007 ‘Buying For Equality’ guide “Buying for Equality” is an annual publication of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Workplace Project that directs consumers to support fair-minded companies through their purchasing decisions. The buyers’ guide ranks hundreds of popular American brands based on their parent companies’ LGBT workplace policies and practices. Scores are determined through scoring criteria in the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, the only nationally recognized measure of LGBT workplace equality. The CEI is the primary method for companies to evaluate their diversity efforts toward LGBT employees, customers and investors.

Categories

“Buying for Equality” breaks companies and their products into easily distinguishable purchasing categories. Some categories include:
• Apparel & Accessories
• Banking & Finance
• Computers & Technology
• Home & Garden
• Medicine Cabinet Companies
Products are divided based on their CEI score into red, yellow and green sections so that consumers can easily determine which brands support LGBT equality.
• Green (80-100): Consumers should make every effort to support these companies.
• Yellow (46-79): Companies/brands that have taken steps toward a fair-minded workplace, but there is still progress to be made.
• Red (0-45): Companies/brands that have more work to do in furthering equality. If possible, make the choice to support a fairer company.
“Buying for Equality” 2007 compares many leading brands. This year, examples of the best and worst companies for LGBT equality include:
Best: MetLife, BP, Best Buy, Tylenol, Whole Foods, DiGiorno, Gap
Worst: Transamerica, Exxon Mobil, RadioShack, Aleve, Kroger, Domino’s, Abercrombie & Fitch
Distribution
Last year, “Buying for Equality” 2006 reached more than one million individuals:
• 250,000+ viewings on www.hrc.org
• 50,000 copies distributed
• Featured in mainstream media on CNBC, The Associated Press and Scripps new services
• Featured in LGBT press in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.

Availability
“Buying for Equality” is available via hard copy, download and online. For more information, visit www.hrc.org/buyersguide.

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