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On behalf of Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is soliciting public input for recommendations for this year’s Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE).  Now in its 21st year, the ACE honors U.S. companies demonstrating leadership in their overseas operations, specifically recognizing U.S. firms that uphold the highest standards of responsible business conduct and whose operational practices and decision-making exemplify American values and international best practices.  Recommendations are due to embassies and consulates by March 6, 2020.

For 2020, the categories for the Award for Corporate Excellence are:

  • Award for Corporate Excellence for Innovation will honor a company’s commitment to using emerging technologies to provide breakthrough solutions and products in line with American values.
    • Description:  The innovative ideas, solutions, and products that U.S. businesses produce help secure our nation’s position as a leader in global technology and secure our nation’s future.  This category aims to encourage innovation by U.S. businesses and its application in support of global development challenges in ways that transform the communities where these companies operate.  This category highlights prominent American company leaders in emerging technology sectors such as automated vehicles, blockchain, artificial intelligence, telecommunications, digital payments, digital assets, and cloud computing.  We seek to emphasize how American companies are leading innovators in these technology sectors while respecting human rights and exemplifying ethical and sustainable business practices.
  • Award for Corporate Excellence in Sustainable Energy Security will honor a company’s commitment to developing resilient and responsible sourcing, generation, transmission, and delivery of energy or energy resources in and from its international operations.
    • Description:  As Secretary Pompeo said in his March 2019 CERAWeek address to the energy industry: “the more we can spread the United States’ model of free enterprise, rule of law, transparency, diversity and stability of energy supply, the more successful and secure the American people will be.”  Candidate companies excelling in this field enhance the Department’s global energy security efforts by contributing to global energy access sustainably, and thus to global economic and human development.  Candidate companies further American interests by widening the tools our diplomats have to create partnerships and open global markets.  The category’s focus will be on companies promoting sustainable, inclusive, and equitable economic growth through energy related endeavors.  This can include any of the U.S. government’s “all-the-above” (from wind, solar, nuclear, and biofuels to gas and oil) energy sources and technologies for promoting U.S. energy and energy technology endeavors abroad.
  • Award for Corporate Excellence for Women’s Economic Empowerment will honor a company’s commitment to supporting women’s economic empowerment through its values, strategies, policies and procedures, and operational practices.
    • Description:  Empowering women in the workplace is a significant driver of economic growth and prosperity, and improves the quality of life for women, men, families, and communities.  This category seeks to promote companies’ strides to champion women’s professional advancement and empowerment in corporate environments.  To this end, we seek to recognize companies’ operations that address:  balanced representation of women on C-suite corporate boards and in local operations, parental leave, equal opportunity and non-discrimination policies, professional training and development, women’s entrepreneurship, enterprise development, supply chain and marketing policies, pay equity, and transparency.  We encourage nominations of women-owned businesses with high standards of empowering women within their operations.

Details on Submitting a Recommendation

ACE nominations are focused on the exemplary operations of a company in a specific country, and nominations are officially put forward to the Secretary’s office by Chiefs of Mission from U.S. embassies and consulates.  As such, recommendations should be directed to a specific U.S. embassy or consulate, for the operations of a U.S. firm in that country.

Stakeholders should contact the embassy or consulate switchboard during normal business hours and ask to speak with the economic section regarding the Award for Corporate Excellence. Contact information can be obtained on the website of the respective embassy or consulate. Chiefs of Mission will ultimately decide which recommendations will be sent forward as nominations to the Secretary of State and they retain final decision-making on such matters. Stakeholders are asked only to put forward recommendations to embassies and consulates for their consideration and should refrain from lobbying for a particular recommendation once it has been submitted.

Compelling recommendations will include proof of positive impact, particularly with metrics when available; show alignment of responsible practices with core business operations; and demonstrate commitment to the communities where a company does business.

For more information visit and on Twitter @EconAtState .


U.S. Department of State

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