The State Department's annual Award for Corporate Excellence recognizes the important role American businesses play in the world through their commitment to social responsibility, innovation, exemplary practices, and democratic values. This year, for the first time, the Award was given in three distinct award categories that serve to support U.S. foreign policy priorities.
The Award for Corporate Excellence in Human Rights and Labor Rights went to Cargill Vietnam Ltd. in Vietnam. The company has 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 using technology to share pricing information with farmers, the government, and other stakeholders to promote transparency. Cargill Vietnam’s school building program has built and delivered 76 schools across rural communities.
The Award for Corporate Excellence for a Small or Medium Enterprise went to East Bali Cashews in Indonesia. This cashew producer employed 350 people in the local rural community, 85 percent 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 more than 800 children of company employees.
The Award for Corporate Excellence in Environmental Sustainability went to Weyerhaeuser Productos S.A. in Uruguay. This renewable forest-product company built a 100 percent clean-energy facility capable of supplying electricity to 40,000 residents.
“U.S. enterprises,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, "represent the best of America in every corner of the world, and it shows. American business practices are an inspiration to people around the world. It is our courage to aim high, our commitment to fair rules, our capacity to translate possibility into opportunity for all."
The profound attraction of American innovation and entrepreneurship is that in doing well one can also do great good.