WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- As the official beginning of the holiday shopping season is set to start, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil rights organization, has released a new guide listing hundreds of popular American brands ranked on their company's GLBT inclusiveness. The publication, "Buying for Equality," breaks products into easily distinguishable purchasing categories. Companies and their products are compared using the criteria of the HRC Foundation's nationally respected Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates GLBT workplace policies and practices. "When the American consumer hits the malls the day after Thanksgiving, we hope our guide, 'Buying for Equality,' will be in their hands," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Every single day, those who support equality have an opportunity to vote and put their values into action by utilizing their pocketbooks. 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." This is the second year the Human Rights Campaign has published "Buying for Equality," a powerful tool to empower equality minded shoppers. Last year, the guide was downloaded off of HRC's website http://www.hrc.org/buyersguide) more than 250,000 times. The popular guide draws comparisons between products, services and retail outlets that consumers use on a daily basis. For example, this year's guide includes comparisons between retail giants Gap, which receives a "green" rating with a 100%, perfect score, and Abercrombie & Fitch, which receives a "yellow" rating with only a 50% score. The ratings are based upon the HRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index which this year found, for the first time, more than half of Fortune 500 companies now offer domestic partnership benefits to their employees. Also, this nationally recognized report showed that 138 companies received a perfect 100% score this year -- a ten fold increase in only four years. Seventy percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are very or extremely likely to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits for gay and lesbian employees, according to research by Witeck-Combs Communications and Harris Interactive. "I encourage consumers this year to take a moment to support companies that support equality," Solmonese continued. "This holiday season, each one of us can do our part to help secure equality for all Americans." The guide is available online at http://www.hrc.org/buyersguide. For high resolution photos of the products and their ratings, please visit http://www.hrc.org/buyersguide/photos. The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. BACKGROUND ON THE 2007 BUYING FOR EQUALITY "Buying for Equality" is an annual publication of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Workplace Project that directs consumers to support fair-minded companies through their purchasing decisions. The buyers guide ranks hundreds of popular American brands based on their parent companies gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) workplace policies and practices. Scores are determined through scoring criteria in the HRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the only nationally recognized measure of GLBT workplace equality. The CEI is the primary method for companies to evaluate their diversity efforts toward GLBT employees, customers, and investors. Categories "Buying for Equality" breaks companies and their products into easily distinguishable purchasing categories. Some categories include: * Apparel & Accessories * Banking & Finance * Computers & Technology * Home & Garden * Medicine Cabinet Companies/products are divided based on their CEI score into red, yellow, and green sections so that consumers can easily determine which brands support GLBT equality. * Green (80-100): Consumers should make every effort to support these companies. * Yellow (46-79): Companies/brands that have taken steps toward a fair- minded workplace, but there is still progress to be made. * Red (0-45): Companies/brands that have more work to do in furthering equality. If possible, make the choice to support a fairer company. "Buying for Equality" 2007 compares many leading brands. This year, examples of the best and worst companies for GLBT equality include: Best Worst MetLife Transamerica BP Exxon Mobil Best Buy RadioShack Tylenol Aleve Whole Foods Kroger DiGiorno Domino's Gap Abercrombie & Fitch Distribution Last year, "Buying for Equality" 2006 reached over one million individuals: * 250,000+ viewings on hrc.org * 50,000 copies distributed * Featured in mainstream media on CNBC, The Associated Press and Scripps new services * Featured in GLBT press in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. Availability "Buying for Equality" is available via hard-copy, download, and online. Please visit http://www.hrc.org/buyersguide for further information.
SOURCE Human Rights Campaign