About the Author: Nancy Smith-Nissley serves as Senor Outreach Coordinator with the Office of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs.
Each year since the ACE was established in 1999, the Secretary of State presents this prestigious award to recognize U.S. businesses who are improving lives at home and abroad. Secretary Rice, as well as former secretaries Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, has considered the ACE presentation one of the great pleasures of her duties. Even though she could not participate in this year’s ceremony due to her travel, her commitment to the award set the tone for another year of highly competitive nominations. This year’s finalists, as in past years, spanned the globe in their operations: from Africa to Latin America to Asia.
Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Reuben Jeffery III announced and presented the 2008 awards in a ceremony held in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the U.S. Department of State.
The U.S. Department of State recognized two winners:
• Multi-national enterprise: Cargill in China. o Cargill is a privately held international marketer, processor and distributor of agricultural, food, financial and industrial products and services. Headquartered near Minneapolis, Minn., it employs 160,000 employees in 67 countries, with FY08 revenues of $120.4 million. Cargill has helped address some of the key challenges and needs of China by promoting sustainable rural development and partnering with local governments and development agencies so that corporate responsibility programs and projects are effective.
• Small business: SURevolution in Colombia. o SURevolution is a luxury lifestyle brand that brings together the consumer and the world of artisanal traditions. Its product line is sold in stores throughout the U.S. and Asia. In Colombia, SURevolution contributes to the peace process by teaching ex-guerilla combatants traditional crafts, helping them reintegrate into society. So far, the project has assisted more than 1,250 ex-combatants and their families.
These companies were selected from 11 finalists. The other companies nominated are:
• Dole in the Philippines
• Esso in Angola
• Google in Brazil
• Microsoft in India
• Occidental in Colombia
• Starbucks in Guatemala
• STM Telecom in Nepal
• Virtusa in Sri Lanka
• Weyerhaeuser in Uruguay
Companies are selected by an interagency senior level review team from nominations submitted by U.S. Ambassadors in-country. This year we received more than 60 nominations. Over the past ten years, all winners and nominees have been exemplary, and their activities have reflected the global trend of treating corporate social responsibility as an integral part of companies’ operations. They have also contributed leading-edge strategies to the complement of CSR practices worldwide – not a year goes by without our committee examining some innovation in this area.
Each of the nominated companies has shown leadership in promoting opportunity and prosperity in their communities. Nominations are based on companies' achievements in one or more of the following areas:
• Good corporate citizenship;
• Provision of a safe and healthy workplace;
• Exemplary employment practices;
• Responsible environmental stewardship;
• Contribution to overall growth and development of the
• Implementation of activities that are compatible with local science and technology policies while contributing to the development of in-country innovative capacity;
• Compliance with U.S., international and local laws, especially regarding anti-bribery and transparency.
The ACE winners and finalists are businesses that recognize the vital role U.S. companies play globally in advancing good corporate citizenship, innovation and democratic principles. Their work draws attention to the best qualities that our nation embodies overseas: innovation, leadership and working with others to build a better and more hopeful future.
This Secretary of State’s annual ACE event sends a powerful signal about the role of American business in ensuring the continuing evolution of peaceful, democratic and open societies. The winners themselves set an example for others that U.S. companies abroad can be good corporate citizens and good neighbors.
The role American companies play as responsible corporate citizens throughout the world reflects our values of generosity and integrity, and that is something of which we all can be proud.