Every year during Pride month, we're inundated with rainbow-colored logos and flags displayed by corporations large and small. But what's behind the rainbows?

Behind companies’ outward support for Pride, there's a wide spectrum of commitment to LGBTQ+ people and their rights – from businesses using every tool at their disposal to champion LGBTQ+ equality to those doing little more than showing solidarity because it sells.

It's time for Rainbow Washing to end. As consumers, coworkers, and citizens, we can all play a role in harnessing our economic power to support those companies celebrating Pride properly – with tangible, impact-driven, year-round investments in progress toward equality for LGBTQ+ people.

To build this guide, we started with standards to which we strive to hold ourselves, and also relied on the expert input of the Equality Federation as well as New Belgium’s own LGBTQ+ coworkers and allies.

  • What is rainbow washing?

    Rainbow Washing is when brands or corporations appropriate Pride or the rainbow Pride Flag in marketing, apparel, accessories, etc., with the goal of boosting profits by indicating alliance with the LGBTQ+ community, while taking little or no real action to champion or protect LGBTQ+ rights.

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  • What isn't rainbow washing

    Corporations have many tools to provide meaningful, year-round support to the movement for LGBTQ+ rights and social equity, both internally and externally, which can earn the credibility needed to fly the rainbow colors of the Pride Flag.

    • Making year-round investments in frontline LGBTQ+ groups with financial or in-kind donations, partnerships, or participatory impact campaigns created in collaboration with LGBTQ+ organizations (to ensure they add real value to the movement)

    • Advocating vocally for LGBTQ+ rights, publicly opposing anti-LGBTQ+ policy, and working to reduce hate and bias wherever it exists

    • Hiring, uplifting, and supporting the advancement of LGBTQ+ employees year-round

    • Ensuring LGBTQ+ representation at all levels of the company, especially in leadership

    • Spotlighting intersectional identities to boost awareness and action on behalf of the most marginalized people in our society

    • Creating avenues for customers and employees to express their own identities within products, platforms, and services, like the ability to select your own pronouns

    • Enacting policies and processes that are LGBTQ+-inclusive, such as health insurance to same-sex partners, as well as health services for transgender employees

    • Celebrating Pride Month through events or campaigns that help to achieve tangible and transparent goals for the LGBTQ+ community with measurable outcomes, and asking consumers to take meaningful action beyond buying something

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  • What you can do

    The good news: There are plenty of companies that show a consistent commitment to promoting equity and human rights for LGBTQ+ people. We can all play a role in using our purchasing power to support these businesses over others that engage in Rainbow Washing – and we can do this throughout the year, not just during Pride.

    • Support companies that put skin in the game with financial donations to frontline LGBTQ+ groups – and not just during Pride Month

    • Try to buy from companies that hire and promote LGBTQ+ people and treat them fairly (to start, seek out certified B Corporations, which must achieve high standards for equitable employment practices, or companies that score close to 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index)

    • Educate yourself about the history of Pride (it began as a riot in response to police brutality, commemorated by continued protests and demonstrations)

    • Vote with your dollars for businesses that speak out in opposition to anti-LGBTQ+ laws, advocate in favor of policies that promote LGBTQ+ rights (like the Equality Act), and refuse to donate to political candidates or organizations working to tear them down 

    • Look for brands that uplift LGBTQ+ people in their campaigns all year long 

    • Write to businesses explaining Rainbow Washing and how they can improve

    • Take action for LGBTQ+ rights and people in your state and nationally

    • Follow the money by scrutinizing impact goals behind Pride Month stunts or campaigns and decide for yourself whether the cause aligns with your values

    Learn more about how leading companies match up against these criteria using the tools and resources below!

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Resource Central

Tools to Flex Your Economic Power

There is no perfect resource to use in identifying which companies can back up their Pride celebrations, and which really cannot.

It’s important for companies to both champion workplace equality and take action against threats to LGBTQ+ rights by speaking out and refusing to donate to the politicians and political groups behind anti-LGBTQ+ policies. This means more than one tool is needed to get the full picture.

These resources can help you understand where some of America’s biggest companies fall on the spectrum of support, and how to make educated decisions as to how you flex your personal economic power.

 

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NEW BELGIUM'S

COMMITMENT

TO LGBTQ+ PROGRESS

While we’re by no means perfect, New Belgium has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ communities for more than 30 years. We began offering health benefits to same-sex partners in the 1990s, and have since become the first craft brewer to receive a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. We advocate against discriminatory public policy, and we support organizations promoting LGBTQ+ health, education, and equity year-round. We do not make financial contributions to politicians or political groups that support anti-LGBTQ+ policy at the state or federal level.

Learn how New Belgium promotes LGBTQ+ equality
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Equality Federation

Equality Federation is an advocacy accelerator rooted in social justice, building power in its network of state-based LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations. For every purchase of Biere de Queer, we'll donate $1 to the Equality Federation. Can't get the beer? Share any of our Rainbow Washing Guide posts on Instagram and we'll donate $1 as well.

Learn More
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Announcing

Poured for All

In partnership with DEI training provider HospitableMe, New Belgium is developing a free, first-of-its-kind inclusivity training with the goal of having thousands of bars and restaurants that serve beers from New Belgium and Bell’s Brewery complete the training in the coming years – including New Belgium and Bell’s own taproom coworkers, who will receive the training as soon as it’s ready. Additionally, the training will be available free of charge to any business that wants to become more welcoming for all people.

The training will be available beginning in the Fall of 2022, and businesses interested in participating can pledge to join the Poured for All Initiative via the link below.

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