Saturday, September 30, 2006

Socially Conscious Finances: Spotlight on GLBT

When you're trying to incorporate your values into your financial decisions, one thing you're always looking for is good information. That's why I'm so glad to find the Corporate Equality Index from Human Rights Campaign (via mapgirl and ~Dawn). It's a comprehensive evaluation of hundreds of companies based on a range of important policies and practices. In other words, it's incredibly useful research, all in one place, ready to be drawn upon by all of us who'd like to make our financial choices-- investing as well as purchasing goods and services-- with GLBT issues in mind.

The whole long document is at this PDF, but here are some of the highlights from the 2006 report:

  • The scale, which runs from 0 to 100, includes a variety of issues, from anti-discrimination policies to diversity training to domestic partner benefits to respectful advertising.
  • This year, 138 of the 446 companies scored a perfect 100. Obviously I can't list them all here-- please check out the PDF!-- but here are a few selected more or less at random:
    • Apple Computer, Bank of America, BP America, Capitol One, Chevron, Dell, General Mills, General Motors, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, US Airways, Walgreens, Xerox.
  • This year, 3 companies scored zero. They are Exxon-Mobil, the Meijer grocery chain, and Perot Systems (Ross Perot's tech consulting firm). In fact, although Mobil used to have domestic partner benefits and included sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy, these practices were reversed when Exxon bought Mobil in 1999.
    • Other low-scorers I noticed: Archer Daniels Midland, Bayer, H.J. Heinz, Nestle Purina PetCare, Newell Rubbermaid, and Nissan North America, all at 15.
For me, personally, my investing is entirely in socially-responsible mutual funds, which incorporate this kind of research already. But I'm glad to have this knowledge as a consumer; I certainly won't look at an Exxon-Mobil gas station the same way again, for starters.

Reading this report has inspired me to compile and share the good information that's out there on other issues that I care about, so expect this to be a continuing series. If you have any good sources of information on companies' social responsibility, please share!

[Edited 11/23/06 to add: Also check out The Advocate's list of top companies for GLBT workers, and be aware that these lists may miss things-- thanks to Dana at Mombian.]


mapgirl said...

Thanks for the link. You posted a great resource for GLBT friendly companies. :-)

Now if only there was a way to send a message to them when I buy their products that this is the reason why. (Because sending a letter to them costs me money.)

Penny Nickel said...

E-mail maybe?

Anonymous said...

Isn't this kind of a double edged sword? One group of people will love these companies yet another group (Social Conservatives) will hate them. Wouldn't it be in a companies best interest to just try and avoid the whole issue as much as possible?