On January 29, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry presented the Secretary of State's 2013 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) to Fruit of the Loom in Honduras, Plantronics in Mexico, and Taylor Guitars in Cameroon. The annual award recognizes U.S.-owned businesses that play vital roles around the world as good corporate citizens in supporting sustainable development, respect for human and labor rights, environmental protection, open markets, transparency, and other democratic values.
Garment manufacturer Fruit of the Loom in Honduras was honored for achieving a ground-breaking collective bargaining agreement with its workers that has become a model for Central America; recognizing unions, empowering workers, and promoting freedom of association training in its Honduran assembly facilities; providing 10,000 health screenings; and engaging in environmental stewardship through reducing carbon emissions and providing ecological stoves to rural areas.
Electronic device manufacturer Plantronics in Mexico was honored for supporting Mexican science and technology development through establishing a center and sophisticated testing lab employing 100 professionals; forging agreements with local colleges and trade schools to provide work-school collaboration assistance, intern opportunities, and recruitment; and undertaking preventive health initiatives for approximately 2,200 persons.
Musical instrument manufacturer Taylor Guitars in Cameroon was honored for environmentally and socially responsible sourcing, harvesting, and milling of rare ebony, including conserving ebony stocks by raising consumer awareness; enhancing local incomes by hiring local workers; training workers to use state-of-the art equipment; and encouraging Cameroonian legal and policy reforms to improve transparency and traceability of logging permits and respect for the rights and needs of other forest users.
The winners were chosen from among 12 finalists. The other nine finalists are Apache Corporation in Egypt, Ball Corporation in Serbia, Boeing in the People’s Republic of China, Citibank in Brazil, Coca-Cola Company in Romania, Dole Food Company in Ecuador, Esso in Angola, Mars Incorporated in Indonesia, and VOS Flips in Guatemala. More information on the finalists is available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/218469.htm.
For 15 years, the Secretary of State has bestowed the ACE to U.S. businesses that undertake responsible activities to improve lives and advance the needs of local communities around the world. The Department of State remains committed to furthering best practices by collaborating with U.S. businesses. For more information, please visit: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/ace.