The Human Rights Campaign launched a new free iPhone App with their 2010 Buying for Equality Guide.
Packed with detailed information from the Corporate Equality Index, savvy shoppers now have mobile information when they want to purchase a product they know is produced by an LGBT friendly corporation, or avoid products from unfriendly companies.
The interface is clean and simple to use. Corporations are divided into common categories like restaurants, retailers, kids, newsstand, and so on.
Once you click through the category, a list of brands is ranked from top to bottom and divided into three categories. The best companies are labeled in green with a suggestion to "support these brands." The middle tier brands are color coded in yellow and labeled "brands that could do better." The third tier is red with a warning to "avoid these brands or non-responders."
You can click through to learn more about each company and their subsidiaries by reading their score card.
This is the first App in the iPhone store that I've seen with a 5 star rating. I honestly don't know if another one is out there. People really love using it. One reviewer noted, "Just used this to buy new tires. Won't be buying from Goodyear until they start respecting our community."
Goodyear is listed on the brands to avoid or non-responders list. They failed to participate in the Corporate Equality Index, the iPhone App indicates they have a long way to go before they could be categorized in the yellow or green sections. They have an employee non-discrimination policy in their handbook, but they don't appear to provide domestic partner or same-gender spousal benefits. Allegedly, they also do not explicitly mention gender identity in their non-discrimination policy.
While the community is giving this App a 5 star rating because they are enthusiastic about the opportunity to easily vote with their dollar, the App itself could use a few improvements. A search feature should be added, so users do not have to spend as much time scrolling through long lists. I would also like to see an e-mail button next to each listing so consumers can send a note to customer service departments alerting them to why they chose or didn't choose their product. And finally, I would love HRC to include a bar code reader so people could quickly scan an item in the store and the app could tell me whether to purchase or not.
These potential improvements aside, I highly recommend the HRC iPhone app. Our most powerful vote is the vote with our dollar. Progressives should be savvy shoppers and only support the companies that support the kind of world we want to live in.