Every once in a while a website comes along that is so cool, slick, informative and so fun that it demands attention. It is so full of awesome that you Tweet it and Retweet it, Facebook it, chat about it then spend an inordinate number of hours playing on it. My friends, I have found such a site: Good Guide. No, I am not talking about the original site, which, let’s be honest, is pretty great in and of itself. Long heralded Good Guide allows consumers find the most planet and people friendly products, online or via phone applications. But, now, in a new measure of cool, you can use the Good Guide’s interface to determine if the companies you buy from swing to the left or the right, with contributions steering toward the Republican side of things or the Democratic.
Using data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Good Guide puts the information in a nice, easy to use format, complete with fast moving logos. With one click you can view companies that are more Republican (based on their political contributions and affiliations) or see who is of the Democratic persuasion. Republican groups are listed on the right, in the red column, with blue Democratic groups on the left. Based on the data, which is a little dated (2008), we see that Southwest Airlines is enjoying life on the right while Whole Foods is about dead center politically. Tom’s of Maine is, not surprisingly, on the blue and Democratic left, but then again, so are Costco and HBO.
The site also enables users to sort by various categories including industries (tobacco companies showed very little love for the Democrats) and also organizes data by funds donated. For instance, if you sort by “Largest Total Contribution” you might be surprised to find out that the #1 contributor of those listed is AT&T, with a slight preference for Republicans. You can roll over company logos to see the exact breakdown of contributions. AT&T donated about $3.5 million to Democrats and approximately $5.6 million to Republicans per the Good Guide site. All of those donations were through the company’s political action committees.
Those who want to take voting with the wallet to the next level can host the Good Guide’s Company Political Contribution site on their own website or blog or link over to the original Good Guide site to further explore company performance (if applicable-not all companies on the political site are listed on the Good Guide’s product site).
The Good Guide corporate contributions site is full of cool, but it is a starting point only. Ideally, it will be a conversation starter that sparks enough interest to encourage consumers to further investigate the political leanings, environmental impacts, and social contributions of the companies they buy from. Action by informed consumers is the most immediate way to ensure the responsibility of business.