Best and Worst Brands for Equality—I'm all excited because the Human Rights Campaign (you know, the nonprofit responsible for those ubiquitous square blue and yellow "="stickers) just came out with a new consumer buying guide geared towards the GLBT community. It's called Buying for Equality: A Guide to Companies and Products That Support Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Equality. The information for rating companies listed in the guide comes from the HRC's 2005 Corporate Equality Index, which researched policies and procedures that affect employees at Fortune 500 and Forbes 200 companies. (Companies with less than 500 employees were not included in the research.)
The results are startling—even a little disturbing. Companies like Hain Celestial, makers of popular natural product lines like Rice Dream and Soy Dream, are listed in the red with a score of just 43 out of 100 possible point. That's shamefully bad. Powerbar is even more pitiful at a wimpy 29. Surprisingly, Whole Foods ekes out a dispassionate 57, while Ben & Jerry's scores solidly in the "meh" with a C-minus grade of 71.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the study is who the top food manufacturers are for GLBT-compassionate workplaces: General Mills, Kraft, Miller, Molson Coors and PepsiCo all score perfect 100s. Huh? I thought all those giant corporations were supposed to be the bad guys ... but maybe they're not so horrible after all? I'm totally stumped.
And it gets even more complicated. Iams was ranked as "best in show" for dog food brands with a good score of 86. However, its parent company, Proctor & Gamble, is notorious for unapologetically testing its products on animals. Is that a compromise equality-minded animal lovers are ready swallow? I doubt it.
But you don't have to take my word for it. Request a copy of Buying for Equality at www.hrc.org and see if you can figure out what's best and worst for you.