U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented the 2010 Award for Corporate Excellence, or ACE, to three American companies. The ACE is awarded annually to U.S. businesses that exhibit good corporate citizenship, promote innovation, and advance democratic principles around the world.
The winner in the small-to-medium size enterprise category is Denimatrix of Lubbock, Texas, for its work in Guatemala. The company is touted for the exemplary care they show their employees, their respect for the local community, and their commitment to the environment. Denimatrix supports free medical clinics and medical treatment for its employees and their families, and educational opportunities. The company does this in order to create a work environment where a sense of teamwork and family motivates people to do a good job.
The second ACE recipient is Mars Incorporated of McLean, Virginia. It is the company's special relationship with the cocoa farmers of Ghana that has won it acclaim. Grant Reid, President of Mars Global Chocolate, said "By enabling farmers to create sustainable businesses, we believe we can ensure the future of cocoa while increasing incomes and securing livelihoods for tomorrow's farmers." Mars works to raise awareness of the importance of reducing child labor and protecting workers at every level of the cocoa value chain from the fields to the factories. And by 2020, Mars has committed to certify its entire cocoa supply as sustainable.
The final ACE winner is Cisco Systems. The company invested ten million dollars in Palestinian programmers, and by including both Palestinians and Israelis on the same programming teams, Cisco has taken people and economies that are too often kept apart and reconnected them in person and in cyberspace. There are now sixty-thousand students in the Middle East on these network academy programs, which teach Palestinian youth English and computer skills. Cisco's leadership has inspired other American and Israeli high tech companies to recognize that the West Bank is open for business.
Denimatrix, Mars, and Cisco remind all of us, said Secretary Clinton, "that American business is about so much more than the goods we sell or the services we offer. It's about who we are as a people, what we value, what we can accomplish together. ... We want to continue making the case for the kind of American-led business interventions that do well and do good."