The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is pleased to announce ten finalists for the 2015 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE).
The Secretary of State has awarded the ACE each year since 1999, in order to recognize American companies that are leaders in responsible business conduct worldwide. Each of these companies is making an important contribution to the growth and sustainable development of the local economies in which they work.
An interagency committee chaired by the Department of State chose these U.S. companies based on nominations submitted by U.S. ambassadors from around the world. New for 2015, ACE winners will be chosen in three distinct categories: Work on Environmental Sustainability; Efforts on Human Rights and Labor Rights; and Outstanding Contribution by a Small or Medium Enterprise. Those three winners will be announced at a ceremony on March 1.
The finalists for this year, listed in alphabetical order by category, are:
- Gigawatt Global in Rwanda revolutionized solar energy in East Africa, delivering 8.5 megawatts of grid-connected power that serves 15,000 homes in Rwanda, while providing the added benefit of rental income to the local community for use of their land.
- Texas Instruments, Inc. in the Philippines set the standard for sustainable architecture in the Philippines by obtaining the country’s first Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED) certification. TI also spent $1.2 million on water and energy conservation projects, including recycling of hazardous and non-hazardous waste, and worked with the government of the Philippines to develop and support the government’s Green Building Code.
- Weyerhaeuser Productos S.A. in Uruguay is a renewable forest-product company that built a 100% clean-energy facility capable of supplying electricity to 40,000 residents, launched a project certified to remove an average of 56,019 tons of carbon dioxide per year, and has been recognized as a “Project of National Interest” by the government of Uruguay.
Human Rights and Labor Rights
- Cargill Vietnam Ltd. in Vietnam demonstrated a long-term commitment to investing in its farmer-partners in cocoa and other sectors by supporting community health, training over 12,000 farmers in sustainable production techniques, and utilizing technology to share pricing information with farmers, the government, and other stakeholders to promote transparency and combat corruption.
- Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C. in Hong Kong served as a model for promoting inclusion and respect for diversity in the workplace, particularly with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity. The company has partnered with other firms to promote the development of a large LGBTI professionals network, and has sponsored numerous LGBTI-related awards and events. The company has also been a supporter of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission’s efforts to review the anti-discrimination legislation in order to consider future reforms.
- Newmont Ghana Gold Limited in Ghana partnered with private and public security forces to train and equip them in protecting mine sites as well as communities in a way that respects human rights. The company also works with the government to promote these best practices nationwide.
Small or Medium Enterprise
- East Bali Cashews in Indonesia is a cashew producer that employed 350 people in the local rural community, 85% of whom were previously unemployed women; improved the quality of local agricultural production and modernized its methods; and expanded services to address the health and education needs of over 800 children of company employees.
- I-DEV International in Peru, a consulting and investment firm, catalyzed the growth of other small companies with social missions by connecting them to markets and additional capital funding, including $10 million raised for a chain of schools targeting 33,000 students, and $2 million in turnaround financing for a diaper company focused on serving the needs of low income families.
- Runa LLC in Ecuador, a beverage company, worked with over 2,500 indigenous farming community-partners, encouraging them to organize and to become involved in the company’s production and management decision-making process. The company has achieved fair trade and organic certifications and worked to prevent deforestation and foster biodiversity in the rainforest.
- Tegu in Honduras, a wooden toy and block company, harvested wood from an estimated 400,000 hectares of sustainably-managed forest land for use in its products and, through its partnerships, has supported the reforestation of over 500,000 trees in Honduras.
The Department of State is committed to working with companies to further responsible business practices worldwide and to recognize their efforts to improve lives at home and abroad.
The winners of the 2015 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence will be announced at the annual ceremony on March 1, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST at the State Department.