The Human Rights Campaign has just released its 2011 buyers’ guide. This powerful tool rates companies on their treatment of LGBT employees and, by extension, consumers. The HRC has continued to refine its criteria, creating a very complex picture of corporate responsibility toward the LGBT community. It includes protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity, benefits provided, and actions taken that harm equality. The HRC prefaces its guide in this way:
Corporate social responsibility has become an imperative for a successful business. With Buying for Workplace Equality, we hope to harness that power by providing you with the most accurate review of a business’s workplace policies toward LGBT employees.
Take a look before you shop and compare similar companies.
- Going grocery shopping? Whole Foods has a respectable 85, Trader Joe’s an embarrassing 15
- Stocking up on other household goods? Costco rings up a 100, Wal-Mart crashes its cart at 40
- Need home and garden supplies? Home Depot scores 85, Lowe’s a dismal 15
- Want coffee and a snack? Starbucks is a perfect 100, Krispy Kreme a curdled 15
- Going running? Nike just does it at 100, Adidas/Reebok limps in at 15
Some companies are a bit more difficult to judge. The recently infamous Target, for example, gets a perfect 100, but loses 15 points for its nefarious political contributions; the net 85 is still a very respectable score. Perhaps a decision based on where your local Target puts its contributions is a good strategy.
Even if LGBT rights aren’t your personal top barometer, this is a useful indicator of the employee friendliness and overall corporate responsibility of the places you shop. Looking at GoodGuide’s Vote With Your Dollars, companies that rate highly on the HRC list also do well in other categories. In an age of increasing corporate greed, it is very helpful to have a good place to turn when looking for the best places to shop, bank, and dine.
Of course, not every company can be found. HRC started with 1800 and has rated 615 so far. They will not provide even an unofficial rating (compiled without the help of the corporation) until they’ve done extensive research. Looking at the companies that are rated, however, I’m pleased to see how well our local companies do. Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Costco, and Nike all score 95 or better.
While the HRC isn’t always perfectly responsive to the full LGBT community, they deserve thanks for their hard work and extremely useful information on this topic.