The private sector plays a massive role when it comes to promoting human rights. Most obviously, we need the private sector to promote work environments that are free of discrimination. We also know that since the private sector is in control of a large part of the global purse – they not only have the power to help sustain activist and philanthropic initiatives, but also have an undeniable influence on governments and policymakers.
When companies put human rights above profits, it sends messages of hopes that can have ripple effects. The inclusion of diversity in marketing campaigns, for example, is just as important for the promotion of acceptance and tolerance as visibility is in pop culture.
Unfortunately, getting private companies to promote equality is not always an easy ask, for various reasons, including the fear of alienating their more conservative client base. One of the major reasons why companies shy away from supporting LGBTQ+ rights is the belief that there is no economic benefit to doing so.
There are about five major banks in South Africa. If none of them had supported LGBTQI+ rights, what would you have done? Are you not going to use any banking services? Of course not. You would simply have no choice but to support one of the homophobic banks. Most companies believe that since none or very few of their competitors support LGBTQI+ rights, consumers can’t punish them for their own homophobic policies.
This is why it is vital that, as LGBTQI+ consumers, we show our support to those companies who do put human rights and love above profits.
Here is a list of well-known international brands that have openly shown their support for the LGBTQI+ community. Can you think of any other companies to add to this list?
Restaurants / Takeaways
Food and drink
Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream)
Castle Lager (part of the multinational drink and brewing holdings company, AB InBev)
Johnson & Johnson
Grocery retailers / department stores
The IKEA Group