HRC releases buyer’s guide for 2007 holidays

Posted on 22 Oct 2006 at 5:58pm
By Staff Reports

Guide directs users to products, services of companies that have LGBT-friendly policies, practices in place



Joe Solmonese

The Human Rights Campaign on Monday released “Buying for Equality 2007,” a buyers’ guide designed to let LGBT people and their allies find LGBT-supportive companies with which to spend their holiday shopping dollars.

The guide, available online to download in a PDF version, was released this week to coincide with “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, which is traditionally considered the start of the holiday shopping season.

“When the American consumer hits the malls the day after Thanksgiving, we hope our guide will be in their hands,” said Joe Solmonese, the HRC president.

“Every single day, those who support equality have an opportunity to vote and put their values into action by utilizing their pocketbooks,” Solmonese said.
“Our community has billions of dollars worth of buying power, and we intend to use it this holiday season. By purchasing products from companies supporting GLBT equality, you are sending a message that will be heard loud and clear.”

The guide compares companies and their products based on criteria HRC uses to compile its annual Corporate Equality Index, a publication evaluating workplace policies and practices on LGBT issues, such as whether the company offers partner benefits and if its non-discrimnation policies include protections for LGBT people.

The Buying for Equality guide compares products, services and retail outlets that consumers use on a daily basis. For example, Solmonese said, this year’s guide includes comparison’s between retail giants like Gap, which had a perfect 100 percent score in the Equality Index and so is given a “green” rating, and Abercrombie & Fitch, which despite its homoerotic advertisements earned a Corporate Equality Index score of 50 percent and thus a “yellow” rating.

Stores and companies with “red” ratings are at the bottom of the “gay-friendly” spectrum.

Research by Witeck-Combs Communications, a marketing firm specializing in the gay and lesbian consumer, put the LGBT community’s buying power at $610 billion in 2005. The company worked with Harris Interactive on research that indicated LGBT people are “very or extremely likely” to spend those billions on products and services offered by companies known to provide equal workplace benefits for their LGBT employees, Solmonese said.

The Buying for Equality 2007 guide is available online at www.hrc.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, November 24, 2006.

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