Winners for the 2016 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is pleased to announce the six winners for the 2016 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). The winners will be presented with the award at the annual ACE ceremony on January 5, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. EST at the State Department. The event will be globally streamed online at

The Secretary of State has awarded the ACE each year since 1999, in order to recognize U.S. companies representing American values in their business practices worldwide. Each of these companies is contributing to the growth and sustainable development of the local economies in which they work. In 2016, the four ACE categories include: Inclusive Hiring Practices, Small or Medium Enterprise, Sustainable Oceans Management, and Transparent Operations.

The winners for this year, listed in alphabetical order by category, are:

Award for Corporate Excellence in Inclusive Hiring Practices: General Electric (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and McDonald’s Deutschland (Berlin, Germany)

General Electric promotes inclusive hiring practices within Saudi Arabia by co-founding the country’s first all-women business services center, which now employs over 1,000 Saudi and non-Saudi women, servicing a fifth of the company’s worldwide service needs.

McDonald’s Deutschland has led by example to support refugees’ integration into Germany’s society and workforce. Since 2015, McDonald’s Deutschland has employed over 900 refugees across the country. The company also provided over 20,000 online German Language learning course licenses to the German Federal Employment Agency, which will distribute them to refugees over the course of two years.

Award for Corporate Excellence in Small or Medium Enterprise: Andela (Lagos, Nigeria)

Andela’s trained software engineers provide software development and information technology services for global companies. Andela pays its trainees above-market wages and provides accommodation, meals, and healthcare. Andela was incorporated in May 2014 and has been an immediate success. Its trainees generated $3.4 million in bookings in its first full year of operations.

Award for Corporate Excellence in Sustainable Oceans Management: Bureo Inc. (Santiago, Chile) and Interface Inc. (Manila, Philippines)

Bureo designs and manufactures a unique line of sunglasses, skateboards, and other sustainable products for the action sports industry, sourced from recycled fishing nets. They have launched a fishing net collection and recycling program, Net Positiva, to help tackle ocean plastic pollution. Through the program, Bureo has partnered directly with fishing communities across Chile and has recycled more than 55 tons of fishing nets.

Interface, a Georgia-based manufacturer of modular carpet tiles and flooring, works to decrease marine pollution in coastal areas of the Philippines while improving the lives of local communities. Interface launched Net-Works, a project to remove discarded nets from oceans to prevent marine life from getting caught in them. Net-Works encourages the recycling of these nets by providing payment to participants in the local community. The recycled nets provided by the program are sent to an Interface, Inc., supplier which uses the nylon found in the nets to produce 100 percent recycled carpet yarn. As of 2015, the program has operated in 26 communities and directly benefited over 4,000 people.

Award for Corporate Excellence in Transparent Operations: Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde S.A.A. (Lima, Peru)

Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde S.A.A is a mining company that puts transparency and stakeholder engagement at the core of its business model. The company completed a $5.6 billion expansion in 2015 within budget and on schedule because of its proactive transparent consultation with local communities and all levels of government. The expansion included a one billion dollar investment in public water infrastructure that supplies the additional capacity required by the mine, and potable and waste water for the residents of Peru’s second largest city, Arequipa.

The Department of State is committed to working with companies to further responsible business practices worldwide and to recognize their efforts to improve lives at home and abroad. For more information, please visit:

The invitation-only event will be open to credentialed members of the media on a space-available basis. A notice to the press will be issued soon to provide specific details such as show time and location and identification requirements. For media inquiries, please contact the Economic and Business Affairs Bureau public diplomacy office at

Source: U.S Department of State.