Tag Archives: corporate responsibility

Hero of the Week Award: November 16, United Parcel Service (UPS)

16 Nov

Hero of the Week

It’s a delight to honor another company doing the right thing and standing up for equality. This week United Parcel Service — the carrier known as UPS — ended all corporate funding of the Boy Scouts of America. The reason? The Boy Scouts’ steadfast refusal to stop discriminating against the LGBT community. This announcement appeared on the company’s website on Monday.

The UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our focus areas, guidelines, and non-discrimination policy. UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion.

UPS has been one of the top ten donors to the Scouts in the past. This action is in direct response to a campaign by Zach Wahls and GLAAD to put pressure on the Scouts to change their ways. Intel, the largest donor in 2010, agreed earlier this year to withdraw their support.

Both Intel and UPS score well in the updated Corporate Equality Index just released by the Human Rights Campaign. Intel scores a 96 (lacking some peripheral benefits for domestic partners) and UPS a 90 (losing points for a lack of fully transgender inclusive health insurance). The Index this year includes a record 688 companies. An amazing 252 of those score a perfect 100, up significantly from last year’s 189. Businesses are increasingly aware of the need to be responsible stewards and friendly workplaces.

It is nice to see progress being made towards inclusivity and fighting marginalization, unless you are a Boy Scout or Republican.


Hero of the Week Award: April 27, Support Starbucks Day

27 Apr

Hero of the Week

I need to thank my friend and social justice activist Eva Hoffman for inspiring me to write this story.

Last Saturday the LGBT community and our allies were encouraged to participate in an act of support for a company that very vocally supports us. Ever since Starbucks announced its strong support for marriage equality, the company has been the target of right-wing attacks. (Those fake christians find true human equality quite the bitter brew – besides, they prefer tea…)

The goons at NOM went especially nuts, launching the DUMP Starbucks boycott. In response, LGBT groups launched a thank-you program. Showing how love can outshine hate, the support page has over 640,000 likes and thank you’s; NOM’s program has barely 30,000. Undeterred, they’ve started an advertising campaign in countries that have Starbucks and have especially bad records for LGBT rights, such as Egypt.

Support Starbucks Day was a great gesture of support for a strong, ethical company. Starbucks promotes diversity and responsibility as key components of their corporate culture. Even if you missed stopping by last Saturday, stop by today and say “thanks a latte!”

Honorable mention goes to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for this wonderful quote:

Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world. It is past time for women to take their rightful place, side by side with men, in the rooms where the fates of peoples, where their children’s and grandchildren’s fates, are decided.

Shop Your Conscience: The 2011 Buying for Workplace Equality Guide

6 Feb

Spend to Support Your Community

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.

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