The Secretary of State’s annual Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) recognizes and honors U.S. companies that uphold high standards as responsible members of their communities. Established in 1999, the award seeks to highlight ways in which U.S. companies represent American values in the way they do business, in line with international best practices such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Nominations for the ACE are put forward by Chiefs of Mission of U.S. embassies and consulates, for the work of a U.S. company in a particular country. Finalists and winners for the ACE are chosen by a selection committee comprised of senior U.S. government officials.
On December 8, 2021, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken presented six American companies with the 2021 ACE. The 2021 awards were given in three categories that reflect policy priorities and key global challenges: Climate Innovation, Health Security, and Economic Inclusion.
The following companies were honored in the Economic Inclusion category:
- Purnaa (winner, small-to-medium sized enterprise). Purnaa employs and empowers marginalized individuals in Nepal. It provides fresh starts for survivors of exploitation, including human trafficking and bonded labor, and for those suffering extreme discrimination.
- Mastercard India (winner, multinational company). Mastercard India supports women entrepreneurs, small business owners, and farmers. Notably, the company founded India’s first-ever Rural Women’s Chamber of Commerce and has organized 100,000 rural women artisans into collectives.
- Whirlpool Slovakia (alternate winner). Whirlpool Slovakia recruits and retains disadvantaged Roma workers. Its programs have materially improved the lives of its employees and the larger Roma community in the region.
The following companies were honored in the Health Security category:
- Zipline (winner, small-to-medium sized enterprise). Zipline designs, manufactures, and operates delivery drones that distribute essential medicines – including COVID-19 vaccines – to remote and under-resourced areas in Ghana and other places.
- 3M Singapore (winner, multinational company). 3M Singapore has advanced the fight against COVID-19 by ramping up production of N95 respirators to help protect frontline healthcare workers, first responders, and the broader public.
The following companies were honored in the Climate Innovation category:
- Australis Aquaculture (winner, small-to-medium sized enterprise). Australis Aquaculture has pioneered climate-smart ocean farming in Vietnam’s marine tropics and is developing technology to cultivate a seaweed species with the potential to eliminate methane emissions from cattle when part of their diet.
- Patagonia (winner, multinational company). Patagonia is a sustainable company that has put environmental issues at the core of its business model. In Argentina, the company has advanced initiatives to promote nature-based climate solutions including through strengthening legal environmental frameworks.
- Aerosol (alternate winner). In Slovenia, Aerosol has undertaken important research in measuring and combatting black carbon.
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