Secretary's Award Recognizes Good Corporate Citizenship

November 7, 2008
ACE Awards Ceremony 2008

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.

Yesterday we celebrated a very important anniversary. I’m talking about the 10th year of the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence(ACE).

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
local economy;
• Innovation;
• 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.



Tennessee, USA
November 10, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

It this truly an overall example of business in a democracy of the People or what it should be that you are showing? While it is politically good timing to render such an award, how about punishment for those who stole from the People and literally held up the Federal Government with full intent to defraud?

Simply changing nomenclature is not legally valid to not prosecute given the laws under INTENT. The insurance sold was not originally sold as risk insurance, but altered AFTER they realized they could not cover the loans some years back and loss of pension funds, etc. This action precludes any defense and consititutes FRAUD. They sold insurence that could not be backed up. There was no intent to pay if they failed. They simply reshuffled the cards from a bad deck they stacked to begin with. Legally they are not covered by any Grandfathered protection reguarding fraud. The premiss was set was it not?

States such as PA, TN, VA can arrest people who have not even crossed the register line if they attempt or are considered to attempt to HIDE an object, regardless of circumstances as too many items to hold. American citizens are to accept that if you STEAL enough money to place our country in an Economic recession and place us in an insecure National Security situation with our international allies, then it is fine? A small business owner who fails due to the economic situation that caused this is to go bankrupt, while larger firms who fail by poor design with greater intellectual pools to work with are to be bailed out?

This cannot be hidden by such a poor example of the minority of good business that play by the rules.

There are larger Christian based business owners who have done well for decades with little or no recognition as Domino's. Greco was once legally ordered to stop prayer at lunch and sued by a fired employee who did not participate and felt it was discriminatory. It was found the employee simply did not live up to any work ethic. John Wanamaker, of old Department store fame in Philadelphia, was also Christian biased and no one came to their aid when the store failed...the list goes on and frankly, it should not matter what basis of religion is involved, simply that everyone plays by the same rules. Right now Korea is upset and Kim openly made statement directed to our President elect they will NOT ALTER our trade agreements as they stand; especially where the auto industry is concerned.

What has happened to our country and would it not be better to show solutions and punishment to those who brought us to this point rather than promoting the minority who actually care?

I suggest you find a Federal Agency that will even address companies problems with the rehire of Veterans after more than one call to the aid of their country -- they cannot afford to be without someone and cannot afford to pay the difference in pay with rehire -- who helps them? Everyone on the lower end of the ladder is suffering and looks how the top who failed continue and are aided by the Government that is supposed to represent the People.

Nancy S.
District Of Columbia, USA
November 10, 2008

DipNote Blogger Nancy Smith-Nissley writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee -- Thank you for your interest in the Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). This is the award's 10th year -- each year nominations are called for in April and the winners are honored at the State Department's award ceremony in November. We are pleased to have received more than 300 nominations over the past decade for companies that are leading the business community in good corporate social responsibility efforts. The award-winning companies set an example for others in business practices around the globe and are themselves examples of a long-tradition of community involvement by U.S. businesses. They are singled out for awards not because they are exceptions, but because they raise the standards that most companies, in my observation, strive to attain.

A look at this year's winners also shows how broad corporate responsibility activities have become. We were proud to recognize a multi-national enterprise company that has provided sorely-needed assistance to impoverished Chinese farmers, established partnerships to prevent the spread of disease, and contributed to earthquake relief, and we recognized a woman-owned small business that has assisted more than 1,250 ex-combatants while also preserving the artisan heritage in Columbia. We are also proud that there have been so many family-owned businesses that have won this prestigious award. In fact, the very first recipient, F.C. Schaffer and Associates won the Department's ACE in 1999 for its work in Ethiopia. Also, the family-owned business Lapa Rios in Costa Rica won in 2005, and another such business in Sambazon, won in 2006 for its work in Brazil. We look forward to see who will be recognized next year.


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