Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
May 21, 2013


"More than ever, foreign policy is economic policy. The world is competing for resources and global markets, and corporations are playing an unprecedented role. American businesses, by exemplifying our country’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and promoting the values of free markets, respect for human rights, the environment, the rule of law and the free exchange of ideas, can foster a positive image of the United States abroad and advance security, prosperity, and sustainable economic growth for America and the world. The core tenets of corporate social responsibility underscore the importance of effective cooperation and partnership between our government and American businesses that operate abroad. Together, we will continue and intensify our work to meet international challenges, protect our interests, and promote our values around the world."

John Forbes Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State

When TAUG’s buses and coaches were introduced onto the streets and highways of Cameroon, it was the beginning of something bigger than the provision of much-needed services. We have been privileged to participate in weaving our host country’s tapestry of economic and social development as a dedicated corporate citizen…the entire country [is] aware of our programs which we hope will become a model of U.S. business partnership for Cameroon’s betterment.

Ralph J. Thomson, Chairman and CEO, Transnational Automotive Group, Inc. (TAUG)

Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence

The Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) emphasizes the important role U.S. businesses play to advance best practices, good corporate governance, and democratic values overseas. The Department of State is committed to working with American business to further these exemplary practices worldwide and to recognize the contribution business makes to improving lives at home and abroad. We strongly encourage American companies to compete for this prestigious honor.

The Secretary of State presents the ACE to one or more firms at a ceremony held at the Department of State each autumn. Members of the business, congressional, diplomatic and civil society communities are invited to attend the Award presentation. The event is covered by the media and broadcasted overseas and on the Department’s website.

GE believes business can fundamentally change the world for the better, by helping facilitate the flow of ideas and people, spurring innovation, and working to strengthen international rule of law. Responsible leadership and operational excellence are GE hallmarks, and our citizenship framework – make money, make it ethically and make a difference – enables us to contribute to society and create value in ways that are true to our strategy and culture. We find it to be uniquely sustainable, even in tough times.

Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE

Criteria for the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence

Nominations are based on companies’ achievements in accordance with established business principles that are in line with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises of 2011. A selection committee of senior Department of State and other governmental officials and chaired by the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs determines each year’s winners based on the following criteria:

  • Good corporate citizenship;
  • Exemplary employment and industrial relations practices;
  • Respect for human rights, including with regard to due diligence and supply chain management;
  • Responsible environmental stewardship that contributes to sustainable development;
  • Contribution to the rule of law and overall growth and development of the local economy;
  • Development of competitive, measurable, fair and innovative business activities;
  • Compatibility/Contribution to local science and technology policies; and
  • Compliance with U.S., international and local transparency and other laws.

The Nomination Process

The call for nominations is made each spring. Nominations are submitted by Chiefs of Missions at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. Eligibility requirements include the following:

  1. Nominated firms must be American (having headquarters in the U.S.);
  2. Each firm must have been operating in the host country/economy for at least one year;
  3. The activity for which a firm is nominated must have been in place for at least one year.