And I want to thank all of you for joining us here in the Benjamin Franklin Room. You can see Mr. Franklin up there; I think it’s the most appropriate place for us to hold this ceremony since he was such an innovator, such an inspiration, and from the very beginning reminded us that America is about tomorrow, about what kind of future we can make together.
I want to say a special word of greetings to everyone who is joining us remotely from Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Pakistan. So I’m going to wave at you and somehow through cyberspace that will get there. Oh good, it just got there. All right. There’s always a little bit of a delay, but we are so pleased that we can have some of our colleagues from around the world as we honor two companies that have made such a difference in the countries I just mentioned.
We are honoring these two companies because they have had an exceptional impact in giving back to the communities where they do business. They are setting the highest standards for corporate social responsibility. They’re showing the world that it is indeed possible to do well by doing good.
Before I get to the moment when the names are revealed – and the tension is building, I can feel it – I just want to emphasize and maybe add just a few words to Bob’s comments, about the crucial role that American businesses play around the globe representing our country and our values. In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, corporations are key actors in international affairs. Now, we are rightly concerned here in the State Department by some of the negative aspects that we have to deal with, whether it’s environmental degradation or labor exploitation or financial speculation, but that is the minority. Unfortunately, it’s often the tail that wags the public dog and gets all of the attention.
What we are focused on here today, and what the companies we are honoring here show, is that when companies act responsibly, they can make vital contributions that benefit everyone, from spurring economic growth to promoting good governance and the rule of law, to providing humanitarian relief after natural disasters.
In fact, for many people around the world, the most direct contact they will ever have with the United States is through American businesses. Through brand names and through small companies, every size, that is doing business abroad, that’s how they learn what we stand for and who we are and what aspirations we share. So this is really important, not just to the bottom line but to our national security, our interests and our values, and the future of our global leadership.
So that’s why here at the State Department we have made it a priority to develop partnerships with the private sector that leverage the vast talents and expertise of American entrepreneurs and businesses. And under Bob’s leadership we are reorganizing our various efforts to work with and advocate for U.S. firms abroad within the Bureau of Economic and Energy and Business Affairs.
Now, the Award for Corporate Excellence represents our continuing commitment to recognize and promote global corporate social responsibility. And this year we are honoring two companies, as we do every year – one large, one small; one a household name, one that we hope will become one – that should make every American proud.
First, Sahlman Seafoods is a business that began with a single fishing boat in Florida during the Great Depression. In the 1990s, the company decided to take a chance on Nicaragua and its emerging democracy. So they built a state-of-the-art shrimp processing plant that met both high U.S. and European standards for product quality, safe working conditions, and environmental protection.
Now, they could have settled for laxer requirements, but that’s not the Sahlman way. They went above and beyond, and that’s what this award is all about. From the start, Sahlman Seafoods demonstrated a commitment to the community. They prioritized hiring local women, sponsored a soup kitchen for children, invested in nearby schools providing scholarships and uniforms. Their environmental record is especially impressive, from a company-wide campaign to reduce water usage to a mangrove reforestation project operated by employee volunteers.
Now, Sahlman Seafoods is a small company, but it’s having a big impact. It’s showing that when American businesses move to a town, quality of life improves and the community gains. So I am delighted to present the 2011 Award for Corporate Excellence to the president of Sahlman Seafoods, Marty Williams. (Applause.)
MR. WILLIAMS: Wow. (Laughter.) Shortly after Under Secretary Hormats called to tell me that we would be receiving this award, I was contacted by Tiffany Enoch in the State Department to begin making arrangements for the ceremony. At one point in the conversation, Tiffany said that their communications and media people could coordinate with our communications and media people. (Laughter.) “But Tiffany,” I said, “We don’t have any communications or media people.” (Laughter.) Sahlman Seafood is truly a small company. Tiffany assured me she would guide us through the process, and she did a wonderful job.
Madam Secretary, Under Secretary Hormats, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen, I am extremely proud and humbled to accept this honor from the State Department on behalf of Sahlman Seafoods, the Sahlman family, and our subsidiary in Nicaragua.
Sahlman Seafoods is a family owned and operated shrimp company that was started in Florida in 1936, making this past year our 75th anniversary. So it is very special and that much more meaningful to receive this recognition at this time. My father-in-law, Jack Sahlman, is the son of the founder and has worked for Sahlman Seafoods for over 60 years. Jack is with us today, and I’d like to recognize him, for we certainly would not be here without his guidance and inspiration. (Applause.)
Jack has always impressed upon me the importance of being a good corporate citizen, and that advice has been the impetus for our employees in Nicaragua to expend time, effort, and energy trying to make a difference in the environment and the communities in which we work. Our employees continually prove that a company can do well and do good at the same time.
Our shrimp farm in Nicaragua is located on an island in a remote area along the northern Pacific coast. In order to protect the ecosystem and enhance the natural flora and fauna, we’ve maintained a rigid program of environmental planning and controls. We diligently protect the native red mangrove population and plant roughly 50,000 seedlings every year. Sahlman Seafoods has worked closely with the Nicaraguan Ministry for Environmental Protection to protect endangered species by creating a census of and monitoring reptiles and several species of migratory birds, and our repopulation program of several shellfish and mollusks has contributed to restoring and improving our water quality.
Sahlman created the first soil and sediment map for the local shrimp industry, which has helped to monitor the health of the local ecosystem. We also strictly adhere to a conservation program of water usage and have implemented a waste management program that allows us to recycle many materials. In an industry that is not often seen as friendly to the environment, we are very proud of operating in a sustainable manner and are constantly reminded that not only can a shrimp farm exist without causing damage to the surrounding area, but can also thrive.
Many people in this area have no electricity or running water and live well below the poverty line. Most have to walk miles along dusty, dirty roads to attend school, church, or visit the local clinic. After having observed the lives of the locals for several months during construction of our farm, we made a commitment to help wherever we could. This effort has been most evident at the Escuela Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, the local elementary school. Since ’96, Sahlman has donated numerous types of infrastructure to the school, including the installation of a well that serves the entire community. More recently, we’ve remodeled the preschool classrooms and provided uniforms to all the students. And to further promote education and environmental awareness, our biologists routinely make presentations to the school and invite the students to participate in activities such as planting mangrove seedlings in the area. We also provide scholarships to elementary school graduates so that they may continue with secondary education that’s not available in the nearby community.
Another project in the area which has received our support is the local health clinic. After rehabilitating the clinic facility, Sahlman recently made possible the installation of electrical power to the building. As you can imagine, this has allowed the medical professionals to provide care on a much higher level.
I’d like to take this opportunity to announce the recent formation of the Sahlman Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit entity through which Sahlman Seafoods of Nicaragua will continue to provide funds, supplies, and time to the local community. We also expect to use the foundation to solicit donations from other companies and outside sources to help with our outreach programs.
Again, thank you, Madam Secretary, for this award and for recognizing our employees in Nicaragua for their outstanding contributions to the local community. We will continue to operate our farm in a sustainable manner and to represent the U.S. through our efforts as a good corporate citizen. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, and I don’t think you needed a media or communications staff at all. (Laughter.) That was very inspiring.
Now, our second honoree is a real household name: Procter & Gamble. You know them for their great products that Americans use every day, but you may not be aware of their tremendous contributions that are helping to save and improve lives around the world. And today, we are highlighting the company’s work in two countries in particular, Nigeria and Pakistan.
In Nigeria, where the company has invested more than $70 million since 1999, Procter & Gamble has purified more than 2.5 million liters of water, built 10 mobile health clinics that provide free medical care, baby care tips, and health education to mothers and their children, and worked with schools to create a health program specifically for girls that reaches more than a million students each year.
And we are very proud of the work in Nigeria, and the company has done similar work in Pakistan. In fact, our ambassador to Pakistan, Ambassador Cameron Munter, is here with us today, and he can attest to just how important it is to have iconic U.S. businesses like Procter & Gamble demonstrating America’s commitment to the people of Pakistan. As Under Secretary Hormats said, it was unusual to get the same company nominated from two different continents, because that’s just I think the first time it’s happened in memory. But it says a lot about what Procter & Gamble is doing.
It’s showing in Pakistan that you can partner with both the government and the people for very positive results. They’ve partnered with Pakistani universities to train young business leaders; they’ve built a new plant that wins recognition for energy efficiency and environmental responsibility; they’ve set up a network of schools in Karachi, and they’ve supported orphanages and early childhood education programs.
After massive floods devastated Pakistan in 2010, displacing millions and creating a humanitarian crisis, Procter & Gamble rushed to offer assistance. The company provided 280 million liters of clean drinking water, delivered medicine, hygiene products, and food rations, and even washed clothes for victims of the floods.
Now, I remember the late Richard Holbrooke reporting back from Pakistani refugee camps about the impact this assistance was having. He, as I, was very concerned about the dangers of disease, such as dysentery, which threatened to take even more lives in the wake of the floods. So American diplomats worked side by side with Procter & Gamble specialists to distribute water purification packets and to help displaced Pakistanis use them effectively, even without basic supplies like the standard 10-gallon mixing jug.
Procter & Gamble stepped up when it mattered most, just as they have stepped up every single day in every single place. They have saved lives. They have eased suffering. They have showed the compassionate face of caring Americans. So I am very pleased to present this award to Procter & Gamble’s chairman, president, and CEO, Bob McDonald.
Bob. (Applause.) Thanks, Bob. I think they’re getting two awards here. This is Nigeria and this is Pakistan. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. MCDONALD: Thank you, Madam Secretary. It’s quite an honor to be able to accept the State Department Award for Corporate Excellence on behalf of the employees of the Procter & Gamble Company. I would like to thank Ambassadors Munter, McCulley, and the members of the ACE selection committee for this recognition. I’d also like to thank Under Secretary Hormats, who chaired the committee. I want to thank the P&G teams in Nigeria and Pakistan, led by Manoj Kumar and Faisal Sabzwari, who are each joining us by video conference today.
P&G’s purpose as a company is to touch and improve lives now and for generations to come. Our purpose guides and inspires everything that we do. For 175 years, our purpose has focused us on finding ways to make people’s everyday lives a little better. We improve lives with our brands. We improve lives with our business growth. We improve lives with our employee programs and with our social responsibility efforts. When we improve lives, we grow our business, and by growing our business, we’re able to improve even more lives. It’s a virtuous cycle and entirely congruent with our growth strategy to improve more lives in more parts of the world more completely.
This congruence is evident in our Pakistan and Nigerian operations, for which we are being recognized today. Both countries play a key role in our developing growth strategy. This year, we celebrated our 20th anniversary in Pakistan. Since 1991, P&G has grown to be among the top fast-moving consumer goods companies in Pakistan. We’ve introduced brands like Pampers diapers, Always feminine protection, Safeguard soap, Head & Shoulders and Pantene shampoos, which are making a difference in the lives of Pakistani consumers every single day.
Through our business growth, we’ve invested in Pakistan with new manufacturing sites and by building a strong local supply base. This has led to the creation of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly, and we’re improving the lives in the community, as Secretary Clinton mentioned, with partnerships to create schools and learning opportunities across Pakistan.
During the floods of 2010, we provided nearly 350 million liters of clean drinking water, in partnership with the United States Government through the use of P&G’s purifier of water sachets. Importantly, Pakistan is the global production hub for these lifesaving little blue packets. By transforming contaminated water into clean drinking water, these packets save lives in Pakistan and all over the world.
In Nigeria, where we’ve also been in business for 20 years, our P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program is an important part of our business as well. Today, we’ve provided over 44 million liters of clean drinking water. Our Pampers brand runs mobile clinics and hospital programs that deliver healthcare support for mothers and their babies. The mobile clinics often represent the first time either a Nigerian mother or child has seen a true health professional. This program reaches over a million and a half mothers and babies. And our Always Care Program helps keeps girls in school by providing feminine hygiene education. The program reaches over 700,000 girls every single year. This is important because, as we all know, education leads to greater opportunities and greater economic potential. Our strong Nigerian manufacturing operations allow us to bring more of our categories and products to Nigerian consumers. In fact, our business in Nigeria has tripled over the last five years.
As you can see from these examples of the outstanding work that the men and women of Procter & Gamble are doing in Nigeria and Pakistan, it is our fundamental belief that businesses can do good and do well. Everyone at P&G is proud of our contributions to make everyday life better, and we are honored by this recognition. We remain committed to touching and improving lives now and for generations to come.
Again, I would like to thank Secretary Clinton, Under Secretary Hormats, Assistant Secretaries Fernandez and Carson, Deputy Assistant Secretary McCarthy, Ambassadors Munter and McCulley, and the entire State Department. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we’ve seen two excellent presentations by two world class American companies, and I think it just reinforces, certainly, my conviction that the American team – and by that I mean all of us, the public sector, the private sector, young, old, and in the middle and every other aspect of who we are as Americans – have what it takes to really lead the world to a better place in the 21st century. I certainly don’t underestimate the challenges. I look out and see some of my colleagues who are working in some of the most difficult situations in the world today. But I have every reason to believe that we are all on the same journey to try to make the world a better place when we leave than when we found it, and that is certainly true for these two American businesses. Thank you all very much.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary, for graciously hosting us today, and welcome back from a very long trip. We especially appreciate your taking the time this morning after your very long voyage to West Africa to participate in this event.
This event, again, as I mentioned earlier, underlines the personal commitment by Secretary Clinton and her team in the State Department and in all of our embassies and consulates around the world to work closely with U.S. business on our common goals of enhancing growth and opportunity and human development, both here and abroad. The two companies we are honoring today are outstanding examples of American firms whose perspective and commitment has greatly enhanced the quality of life and opportunities for many, and we salute your contributions. This is certainly an impressive display of moral commitment, of commitment to social – corporate social responsibility, and to the people who work for you and work with you and work around you in all parts of the world. Because the human capital and the outreach to humanity in these countries is really, perhaps, in many cases, the greatest legacy of your businesses. Not only does it enhance profits, but it also enhances your reputation and improves the lives of generation after generation of people in the countries in which you work.
Now we enter what we call the interactive portion of this ceremony. This is where the new technologies that we have here at the State Department are called upon to link us around the world. And I’m very pleased to welcome our distinguished colleagues around the world, the companies that have engaged in the kinds of practices that we’ve heard described today, and guests who’ve been celebrating around the world via satellite.
So we’d like to start with Sahlman. First, our Charge d'Affaires Robert Downes and Jaime Garcia, processing plant manager for Sahlman Seafoods in Nigeria – in Nicaragua. And so I’d like to turn it over to both of you to make a few statements and then we will proceed with the next portion of our discussion.
So Charge Downes, this is your opportunity to chip in, and then Jaime Garcia will follow you. The floor is yours. We’re all listening and watching.
MR. DOWNES: Thank you, Mr. Under Secretary, President Williams, honored guests and distinguished colleagues. I thank you for the opportunity to be here today to recognize the corporate social responsibility demonstrated by Sahlman Seafoods in Nicaragua. Many accuse capitalism of being, in the words of American sociologist Daniel Bell, a system where man exploits man. It is my great pleasure today to introduce an executive from a company that, like many American companies in Nicaragua and around the world, gives lie to that statement. Sahlman Seafoods is a company that has taken on the work of environmental stewardship, educational support, and healthcare – not for financial gain or recognition, but it understands that good civic practices are also good business practices.
Sahlman Seafoods’ many and varied programs show the breadth of its commitment to civic responsibility in Nicaragua and, with its creation of the Sahlman Foundation, shows its corporate dedication to creating a better future for its employees and for the communities in which it does business. The Award for Corporate Excellence only underscores the work that Sahlman Seafoods has done for so many years. Sahlman, like many other U.S. companies in Nicaragua, demonstrates through its programs the importance of corporate social responsibility.
(In Spanish.) (Applause.)
It gives me great pleasure now to invite Jaime Garcia, Sahlman Seafoods’ processing plant manager, to say a few words.
MR. GARCIA: Thank you. It is a great honor…
MR. GARCIA: Thank you. It is a great honor to accept this award on behalf of Sahlman Seafood employees and community. I thank our local partners, MARENA, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and MAGFOR, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, who have been advocate our programs, as well as our own Gabriel Davila, coordinator of Sahlman Seafood Environmental Unit, whose vision and passion has led us along this fulfilling path.
I will also like to thank the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua for nominating our company, supporting our effort, and believing in our vision. We will continue our effort to deliver acceptable healthcare to the community in El Congo through better infrastructure and equipment and guarantee a brighter future for the children of Buena Vista. The preservation of the wetland in the largest red mangrove extension in the country will continue being part of Sahlman Seafood culture. Without it, our operation will not flourish.
We hope our commitment to the community, the environment, and our people will become the legacy of Sahlman Seafood, and we are confident that there is much more progress to be made. Thank you again for recognizing our effort as we strive to become better corporate citizens. Thank you. (Applause.)
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, thank you very much. Let me just add, first of all, that the commitment that both of you have made and the ongoing efforts you’re making are truly impressive. And I also want to say that when Marty and I first talked about this, I was deeply moved not only by what you’re doing in Nicaragua and the enormous commitment and the enormous results from that commitment; I also thought that the story of the founding of the company was exceedingly moving, from one little ship, one little boat, to the company that you and your family have started and built.
And this is really a great American story, and so it was very moving to me. I told everyone else that really made my day to hear about this, because this is what America is all about. And if we cannot support and encourage our small businesses – some started with one little boat or in the basement of a house or in a small lab – our future is not as dynamic as it ought to be. And the kind of commitment you have made as a family to the values, to the company, to the people around you, is really a truly moving American story. So I just want to congratulate the company and the family.
And I also want to add a particular note for Alice, since she – I went to Tufts. She is a Tufts Jumbo, so I wanted a special shout-out to Alice and to Tufts University. (Laughter.) So why don’t you stand up, Alice, for a second? (Applause.) I couldn’t resist that.
Anyway, thank you all very much, and Marty, for your leadership – very impressive. And as I say, I talked to everyone that day about the conversation we had and what a moving story it was.
Now we turn to P&G, which is a well-known household name but also started as a small company years ago. I think we tend to forget that very big companies often started out as very small companies as well. It’s part of the American story that small companies can become big companies with global reputations. And I think that that is certainly true with Procter & Gamble.
Let me just now turn over the floor to our colleagues and our representatives of P&G in Nigeria. Consul General Joseph Stafford and Kumar – Manoj Kumar, who is the general manager of Procter & Gamble in West Africa, are both with us, and the floor is yours. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this award and the kind of work that Procter & Gamble is doing in Nigeria.
So please proceed.
MR. STAFFORD: Thank you, sir. On behalf of Ambassador McCulley and our Embassy in Abuja, I extend heartiest congratulations to Procter & Gamble, which is celebrating its 20 years in Nigeria and its commitment to socially responsible investment. I can’t think of a company more deserving of this prestigious award. Procter & Gamble has consistently demonstrated its commitment to not only provide a safe and healthy working environment for its employees, but also to strive for a better future for many young Nigerians.
In the last year alone, Procter & Gamble’s corporate social responsibility programs improved the lives of over 2.2 million Nigerian children. In cooperation with its implementing partners, Procter & Gamble has supported the health and well-being of new and expectant mothers through mobile clinics, partnered with local schools to provide innovative educational programs for teenage girls, and provided sustainable access to safe drinking water in rural and semi-urban communities through the use of water purifiers. Procter & Gamble has shown the positive impact an American company can have both in promoting growth and development and in representing the United States abroad as a corporate -- good corporate citizen.
Manoj, congratulations and over to you.
MR. KUMAR: It is a great honor to be a joint recipient of the State Department Award for Corporate Excellence. On behalf of the employees of Procter & Gamble Nigeria, I would like to thank Secretary Clinton, Under Secretary Hormats, Ambassador McCulley, representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, and members of the ACE selection committee for the recognition of our work in Nigeria.
We are very humbled by this award, especially the fact that it is focused on improving lives. This is the core of our purpose as a company and this is what leads everything we do in Nigeria. For 20 years, P&G brands continue to improve everyday life in small but meaningful ways, and many have become leading household names in Nigeria. Our business in Nigeria has tripled over the past five years, and we are expanding across Africa with Nigeria as our business hub for the entire West and Central Africa region.
These awards belong not only to us. We are very fortunate to work with strong partners who share our vision of touching and improving lives. P&G Nigeria is pleased today to highlight and celebrate our distributors, our agencies, our suppliers, and our nonprofit partners such as UNICEF, Sponsor a Child, Society for Family Health, and Adolescent Health and Information Projects. These organizations have implemented and are indeed still delivering truly excellent work that bring P&G’s purpose to life every day in Nigeria.
Together, we are providing much-needed hygiene products across Nigeria to people in remote areas who previously had no access to these products. Together, we have created over 200 new successful entrepreneurs with sustained training and marketing support in rural and semi-urban areas over the past five years. Together, we have provided over 30 billion liters of safe drinking water in Nigeria. Together still, we have provided over 7.5 million tetanus vaccines to mothers and their babies in Nigeria. And together, we are touching the lives of over 2 million children in Nigeria every year through our Always Care Hygiene Puberty Education Program for Girls, our Pampers Baby Care Hospital Program, our mobile clinics, and our Building Future Orphanage Programs.
Let me use this opportunity to again thank Ambassador McCulley, Consul General Mr. Joseph Stafford, and their teams in Nigeria, specifically the Economic Counselor Mr. Perry Ball for all the support to P&G working with the Nigerian Government to create a conducive business environment, the Commercial Counselor Miss Rebecca Armand, and Economic Officer Mr. Robert Folley, for staying so close to us. Without a successful business in Nigeria, none of this would have been possible.
This work is all about improving lives. Thank you once again for this recognition. (Applause.)
MR. STAFFORD: Thank you very much, Manoj. Mr. Under Secretary, back to you, sir.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Thank you very much, Consul General Stafford and Mr. Kumar. And I very much appreciate your mentioning, Mr. Kumar, the excellent work that our economic team is doing. We have a large economic team around the world. We work with commercial attaches from the Commerce Department and other agencies, of course with our ambassadors and our consuls and consulate generals all around the world.
So this is really, as you’ve correctly pointed out, a team effort on the U.S. Government side, with a very strong team effort on the side of the companies that are actively engaged in doing the excellent work that you have described. This is truly a lifesaving work for many people – improving the water supply, providing clean drinking water, giving access to health and medical services to women and children, providing hygiene products, all of which support Procter & Gamble’s commitment to health. So I thank you very, very much for that and for your company’s good work.
Now I’d like to turn it over to the second area in which P&G has won an award, and that is in Pakistan. I’d like to introduce our teams participating in Karachi, Consul General William Martin and Faisal Sabzwari. This is a team that has been working together to achieve common ends, so I would now like to first of all recognize you. We also have the honor of having the American Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter here in Washington in our audience today. And Ambassador Munter, the floor is yours to talk about P&G’s efforts in Pakistan and to conduct the Pakistani portion of this process. So welcome. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR MUNTER: So, Under Secretary Hormats, to all of our distinguished guests, thank you for this opportunity. And for me here in Washington to be looking out at these fabulous achievers, my friends Bill Martin, my friend Faisal Sabzwari, who have been such an incredible force in Karachi, a city approaching 20 million people, where the needs are so great and where we in Islamabad seek the guidance from their efforts to make sure that the American-Pakistani partnership is strong and that the values that we so value, that we so want to stand for, are respected.
I’ll leave it to you, Bill, I’ll leave it to you, Faisal, to talk about the details of what you’ve achieved, but just that in my experience visiting the plant at Port Qasim, seeing the people who have worked with you, the people who you’ve prepared for the modern role that they have to play to bring a decent business climate, to bring health to Pakistan, to see the corporate citizenship that you’ve exercised, especially, as the Secretary mentioned, during the floods of 2010 when, as far as I can tell, 280 million liters of clean drinking water were delivered to 1.5 million people, where hygiene products were given to 2 million victims, and medicine to 90,000 mothers and infants, and also that you built a plant that has a model of responsible stewardship and practices in the environment, winning Pakistan’s Environmental Excellence Award at Port Qasim.
And what you were able to do was to implement upgrades in the older manufacturing facilities that reduced energy, carbon dioxide, and water footprint by 30 percent; the fact that you grow and develop the local economy in Pakistan and work with the NGOs of 60 informal schools; that you worked in the wake of the 2005 earthquake in Azad Jammu and Kashmir to build earthquake-compliant schools; to go to those SOS Children’s Villages, which we have visited Bill – you and I – to see the orphans and how this corporation, in the name of what America stands for, is able to demonstrate our commitment; and also to build ties with developing young business leaders. The lists go on and on – the work you’ve done with interns. And so I just want to thank you there in the field. I want to thank you, Mr. McDonald, and those of you who engender this kind of attitude towards business who serve as our partners.
And in those countries like Pakistan, where we seek to have a true partnership in a country like Pakistan where we are looked upon, even if sometimes critically, as those people who should live by the highest of standards, it’s you who are the people who are doing this on the ground, showing to the public in Pakistan, and indeed to the public in America, how it can be done.
So in awe of your work, I’d like to turn it over to you, Bill Martin, our Consul General in Karachi, and to you Faisal Sabzwari, the P&G country manager, for your comments. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. MARTIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador. It is a great privilege to be here to introduce Procter & Gamble’s Pakistan country manager, Faisal Sabzwari. My first contact with Procter & Gamble Pakistan was just a week after I arrived in Karachi at the onset of the catastrophic floods of 2010. I repeatedly witnessed firsthand destitute men, women, and children receiving the benefits of Procter & Gamble Pakistan’s generosity and compassion. Procter & Gamble Pakistan’s response was not a result of prodding, but clearly a result of their organic corporate ethos.
But more lasting, more profound, is Procter & Gamble Pakistan’s policy of empowerment of women in the workplace here in Pakistan. Procter & Gamble is a role model for Pakistani industry in providing opportunity, training, and upward mobility to women. Every time I visit a Procter & Gamble office or plant, it is clear that their employees, particularly the women, are imbued with an enthusiasm that comes from Procter & Gamble’s attitudes and labor management practices. Procter & Gamble Pakistan’s proactive policy to raise women’s status is paying dividends not only to the company, but more importantly, to the country.
It is an honor to introduce my good friend, Procter & Gamble’s country manager, Faisal Sabzwari. Faisal, congratulations.
MR. SABZWARI: Thank you. Thank you, Bill. Let me express my deep honor and pleasure at being here to accept this unique distinction. Madam Secretary, Under Secretary Hormats, Ambassador Munter, Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Mr. Feldman, representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, and to the members of the ACE selection committee, I am greatly honored and thankful on behalf of all of us at P&G Pakistan to accept this unique honor.
Pakistan is a country with tremendous potential. And for P&G, Pakistan is a country that offers us tremendous opportunity to fulfill our purpose. At P&G Pakistan, we are inspired by a simple and powerful idea: that touching and improving lives is fundamental to growing our business. We started on this journey 20 years ago in Pakistan, and consumers have rewarded us by making brands like Always, Pampers, market leaders.
In the last 10 years, our business has grown fivefold. Our purpose inspires us in the way that we reach consumers. It has inspired us to partner with the Society of Gynecologists in Pakistan, to have 6 million conversations with school girls as they reach adulthood so that they can stay in school and realize their full potential.
It has inspired us to take doctors from the Pakistan Medical Association to neighborhoods with the Pampers Mobile Clinic that has had 5 million consultations, one-on-one, with mothers so that they can get the health and hygiene education for themselves and their babies which are otherwise not accessible to them.
And our purpose has inspired us to partner again with the Pakistan Medical Association for our Safeguard School Education Program. We know that hand washing with soap can prevent the top two syndromes that cause child mortality globally. What could be more important than our program that takes doctors to schools and educates children on health and hygiene? I am proud to report that this Safeguard School program represents the largest private sector education program in the country.
Our purpose also inspires everything that we do. The way we go to universities and have been recruiting interns, allowing them and giving them opportunity to learn, to excel, and gain employment. I was recruited by this program 15 years ago, and I am proud to report that today P&G is the number one preferred place to work in top Pakistani universities. Our Live, Learn, and Thrive corporate social responsibility program has touched 21 million to date.
You mentioned the 60 neighborhood schools that we sponsor, in addition to building three seismic-compliant schools in earthquake-affected areas. In every natural calamity that has afflicted Pakistanis, P&G has been there to provide the assistance and help that we need when we have needed it most. I’ll also mention that the Port Qasim facility that Ambassador Munter inaugurated recently has won the National Environmental Excellence Award for Best Practices and Sustainability.
To close, I would like to thank again Madam Secretary, Under Secretary Hormats, Ambassador Munter, Bill. And I would like to acknowledge the unwavering support that we have received from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, particularly from Ambassador Munter and Consul General Martin. We are very grateful for your support.
I would like to thank again the ACE award committee for giving us this award. Receiving it inspires us to continue on our journey to touch and improve lives in Pakistan today and for generations to come. Thank you.
MR. MARTIN: Thank you very much. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR MUNTER: Thank you, Bill, thank you, Faisal, and thank you and your teams for what you’ve achieved in the field. Thank you to all of the people in Procter & Gamble around the world, but especially in Pakistan, for what you’re doing at a time when we’re defining our relationship and our partnership, and you are acting it out in the way that we’re most proud to take part with. So thank you very much, thank all of you for being here. And once again, I’d like to ask Under Secretary Hormats if he can come back to the microphone. Thank you. (Applause.)
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, thank you very much, Ambassador Munter, Consul General Stafford, Mr. Sabzwari. We applaud Procter & Gamble’s remarkable efforts in Pakistan – your innovative mobile clinics, your commitment to humanitarian assistance, and your partnerships to provide education and build schools. Just your very simple point about teaching children to wash their hands and how that can save many lives and improve people’s health – those things have an impact on those children not just when they’re children but throughout their whole lives, their children’s children, and really have among the many, many things you do created a very remarkable legacy in Pakistan. And we very much applaud this.
I also want to again applaud Bob McDonald’s leadership. His corporate leadership of P&G has been remarkable over the years, and your vision, your sense of public commitment, your sense of social commitment has just been inspirational to people not only in P&G but in the corporate community in general. So a particular thanks to you and to your colleagues around the world who are participating in the P&G family and upholding this wonderful tradition of social responsibility and dealing with these humanitarian issues that countries from time to time face. And when they do, they need the kind of help that P&G gives.
So this brings us to the conclusion of our ceremony today. This is an honor for me, I know it was an honor for Secretary Clinton to participate, because it shows the very best of America. It shows the very best of what our companies and our people can do around the world. And at a time where there’s competition from all countries and all products and all parts of the world, we bring to the world not only excellent products, products that you produce and sell in various parts of the world, and Sahlman Seafoods has just been exemplary in the quality of your products and the quality of the business that you do and the moral leadership that you’ve provided; at P&G, the same thing.
So it’s about the quality of products and the quality of participation. But American companies bring more than that, and that is they bring heart, they bring social responsibility, they bring corporate responsibility. And this is something that all Americans can be very, very proud of. The people, the companies of the United States, represent us in remarkable ways, in ways that create a legacy for them and their products, but also enhance the reputation of the United States, the esteem in which our country is held.
You are very much our ambassadors around the world. We only have a certain number of people in the Foreign Service – the Foreign Commercial Service. We have far more people in the corporate sector around the world, and they’re the people who most citizens of Nicaragua or Pakistan or Nigeria see on a regular basis. They don’t see the people; they see the products. So this really represents a very important aspect of America’s values around the world and who we are as a people, what we stand for as a people, the values we stand for as a people.
So I commend all of you who have won these awards as demonstrating the very best of our country, and I think you all should feel very proud of what you have done, of the reputations you have developed in the countries in which you have been operating and elsewhere. And this is just a small token of your country’s gratitude to you. There are many, many more people around the world who feel the same degree of gratitude. I know the Secretary and I personally feel this, so thank you very much. You have moved us all and you have done remarkable things, and I’m sure you will continue to do so. Thank you very much. (Applause.)