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Pro-gay means big money for corporations
New York City--Big business is courting the LGBT community, and it has gotten to the point that even CNN has taken notice.
A January 12 CNN Money article used a new Tiffany ad campaign, the company’s first to include a same-sex couple, as a jumping-off point to examining the pro-gay stances of some corporations, which dovetails with the release of the 2015 Human Rights Campaign Buyers Guide, a multi-platform listing of pro-LGBT companies divided by category.
CNN’s Gregory Wallace gives a brief overview of some of the most LGBT-friendly giant corporations that consumers deal with on a daily basis, noting that 366 businesses earned perfect scores in the 2014 HRC Corporate Equality Index, although the article quotes the number as 365.
Amazon is noted, especially CEO Jeff Bezos’ $2.5 million donation to marriage equality in 2012, as well as an advertisement featuring a gay man buying a Kindle.
Of course Apple is listed, with CEO Tim Cook becoming one of the most powerful openly gay businessmen last year.
Hippie double-dippie favorites Ben and Jerry’s is noted for their rebranding of flavors in the United States and the U.K. to reflect marriage equality.
A surprising entrant was Barilla, the Italian foods specialty company whose president said he favored “traditional” families two years ago. However, last year Barilla earned a 100 rating on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, after actions spurred by the negative response to Guido Barilla’s comments. The company also issued two apologies for them.
Google was noted for its rainbow Olympics-themed Google Doodle during the Sochi Olympics in Russia last year, a jab at the country’s anti-gay “propaganda” law. And sportswear maker Nike has a Be True collection of sneakers inspired by LGBT people and the passionate pursuit of sports.
He also mentions the Gap, Abercrombie and Fitch (one of 13 Ohio companies scoring 100 on the CEI), American Eagle Outfitters, Oreo and Starbucks.
The 2015 Buyers Guide, available at www.hrc.org/apps/buyersguide/index.php as well as in the Android and iTunes app stores, has 19 categories, covering everything from “Oil and Gas” to “Insurance and Healthcare” broken down from highest score to lowest, and in alphabetical order. It also lists subsidiaries and HRC corporate partners.
Walgreen’s and CVS, for instance, are under “Retailers,” and both score 100, while competitor Rite-Aid is well behind with a score of 60.
In “Home and Garden,” Monsanto might be viewed as a Frankfood-foisting horseman of the Apocalypse, but they treat their LGBT employees very well, scoring 100, as do Herman Miller and Owens Corning, among others.
For the “Banking” category, the mid- and low-scoring companies are far outnumbered by those scoring 80 and above, including Cleveland’s KeyCorp.
Coors might have faced a gay-bar boycott over the founding family’s anti-gay beliefs, but as part of MillerCoors, they now have a 100 rating on the CEI, as do Anheuser-Busch and Diageo, meaning that almost every major brand of beer in the nation comes from a gay-friendly company. Giant Eagle, however, only scored a 75, so you can only feel pretty good buying your groceries there.
Trader Joe’s earned a miserable 30 score, although one might be hard-pressed to find an LGBT employee with complaints about their treatment at the company. The company has a nondiscrimination policy inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, but does not provide domestic partner benefits, nor does it have an employee resource group or diversity trainings.
In terms of the automotive world, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen (along with Tesla Motors) all earned 100 on the CEI, while Subaru has a 90. Hyundai is next with 75, and Harley Davidson has a 15, which should cause some rethinking at the next gathering of Dykes on Bikes. Honda, for some reason, is not listed.