Since 1999, the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence has recognized the efforts of U.S. companies that demonstrate leadership in their overseas operations by upholding the highest standards of responsible business conduct and international best practices. This award recognizes U.S. companies that exemplify the positive impact U.S. enterprises can have on communities worldwide and demonstrate the innovative way in which business is serving the public good.
Each year, the award categories are updated to reflect the private sector’s critical role in addressing global challenges. In this year’s 23rd edition of the ACE awards, we honor four American companies, large and small, for their exemplary work in three categories: Responsible Business Operations; Climate Resilience; and Inclusive Economic Growth.
In the category Responsible Business Operations, we selected two winners. The first is Anova, a small-sized enterprise in Bali, Indonesia, nominated by the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya. Anova offers fully traceable seafood through secure seafood tracking, ensuring transparency from ocean to plate. This is done by documenting the seafood’s journey from its point of catch to its point of sale. It is also the first business to attain the Fair-Trade USA Seafood Certification, ensuring that workers are afforded fair and equitable wages and safe working conditions across its entire supply chain.
The next winner in the category Responsible Business Operations is Gap Inc. in India, nominated by the U.S. Consulate in Chennai. Gap Inc. has demonstrated leadership in the most essential of tasks—taking care of people. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and suppliers were unable to pay their employees, Gap stepped in and negotiated payment of wages owed by their suppliers to those employees to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain and financial security for those most vulnerable to the economic impacts of the pandemic.
For Climate Resilience, the winner is medium-sized enterprise Drinkwell in Bangladesh, nominated by the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka. Drinkwell provides clean and affordable water directly to residents of densely packed neighborhoods in Dhaka, using “water ATMs”—a pay-as-you-go system that works with the local utility company to scale its operations. Through its U.S.-made technology, Drinkwell’s water purification system improves the resiliency of the Bangladeshi people in the face of population growth, climate change, and industrial expansion.
And finally, for Inclusive Economic Growth, the winner is Intel in Costa Rica, nominated by U.S. Embassy San José. Intel’s Skills 4 Life program is capacity-building training designed for underserved afro-descendent and indigenous populations in one of the lowest-income regions in Costa Rica. It has already enhanced the employment potential for 160 young people since 2021 and has been so successful that Intel is considering bringing the program to other Intel sites across the globe.
Over the past 23 years, the awards have told the story of how U.S. firms support local communities abroad while simultaneously unleashing world-class innovation and ingenuity. These companies, like other awardees before them, are leading the way in promoting growth with integrity and excellence. We are proud of the transformative power of U.S. businesses to empower and enhance lives and communities around the world.