Call for Recommendations: 2018 Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence

Media Note
Washington, DC
January 12, 2018


On behalf of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Department of State 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 19th 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 February 23, 2018.

For 2018, the categories for the Award for Corporate Excellence are:

  • Award for Corporate Excellence in Sustainable Operations will honor a company’s commitment to incorporating sustainability into its core policies and decision-making, including environmental, social, or other types of sustainability practices.
  • Description: This category seeks to showcase innovative, game-changing ways companies are achieving sustainable development by harmonizing its three interconnected core elements—economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. To this end, the category’s focus will be on companies promoting sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, respecting human rights and labor rights, raising basic standards of living, fostering social development, environmental protection, and/or promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems.
  • 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, programs, procedures, and/or operational practices.
  • Description: Empowering women in the workplace and the economy is critical to driving economic growth and prosperity, and improves the quality of life for women, families, and communities. To this end, the award seeks to recognize companies’ policies, programs, and operations to create workplaces where women can thrive. This may include efforts to address balanced representation of women in C-Suite corporate boards and local operations, parental leave and workplace flexibilities, equal opportunity and non-discrimination policies in hiring and promotion, sexual harassment, professional training and development, women’s entrepreneurship, enterprise development, integration of women into supply chains, and pay equity and transparency. In particular, nominations of women-owned or women-led businesses that have embraced and implemented high standards of empowering women within their operations are welcome.
  • Award for Corporate Excellence by a Small or Medium Enterprise will honor a small or medium enterprise (SME) for exemplifying the highest ideals of responsible business through overall values, strategies, policies and procedures, and operational practices. (Note: Companies with annual revenue of $50 million or less and/or fewer than 500 employees will be eligible for the SME award.)
  • Description: Small and medium enterprises can be the economic cornerstone of communities where they do business. And increasingly, SMEs are focused on dual goals of both profits and social impact. This category seeks to highlight the compelling work of SMEs and the ways in which they have an outsize positive impact through their core business 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 www.state.gov/ace and on Twitter @EconAtState.