Washington, DC - On behalf of Secretary of State John F. Kerry, 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 17th 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.

This is the first time in the award’s seventeen-year history that the Department is seeking public recommendations on potential ACE nominees. The decision to do so this year recognizes the diverse work being done by U.S. firms globally to advance responsible business practices, and also in order to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of stakeholders from a range of sectors, locations, and backgrounds. Recommendations are due to embassies and consulates by Thursday, June 30, 2016.

The ACE was modernized in 2015 to align with U.S. foreign policy priorities as well as reflect international best practices on responsible business conduct, in particular the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

For 2016, the categories for the Award for Corporate Excellence are:

  • Award for Corporate Excellence in Inclusive Hiring Practices: Honors a company’s commitment to promoting an inclusive and diverse workplace, particularly with respect to hiring refugees as a core component of their business operations.
  • Award for Corporate Excellence in Transparent Operations: Honors a company’s actions in a specific country to publish relevant information on their operations, which could include general activities, due diligence, engagement with local communities, and material information on ownership and governance structure, and/or financial information.
  • Award for Corporate Excellence in Sustainable Oceans Management: Honors a company’s commitment to fostering sustainable oceans, including promoting sustainable fisheries, preventing marine pollution, and preventing ocean acidification.
  • Award for Corporate Excellence by a Small or Medium Enterprise: Honors 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 revenue less than $1 billion will be eligible for the SME award.)

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.