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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2004 > October

The Secretary of State's 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence For Outstanding Corporate Citizenship, Innovation and Exemplary International Business Practices

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Room
Washington, DC
October 27, 2004

[photo gallery]

MR. MERMOUD: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the 2004 Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence Ceremony. I'm Frank Mermoud, Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs here at the State Department, and I'll be your moderator for this evening's special program.

Thanks to the American Embassy Television Network, we're linking live with Suva, Fiji and Sao Paolo, Brazil, and honoring tonight's winners in simultaneous events in three different parts of the world.

Now I am honored to introduce to you Secretary of State Colin Powell. (Applause.)

Secretary Powell gives his remarks at the 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence event. State Dept. Photo.SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Frank, and good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the State Department. A special welcome to those who are watching via satellite from Suva and from Sao Paolo.

We are in the wonderful Ben Franklin Room of the Department of State, where we hold special events, and this certainly is a special event. And it is my great pleasure to have the opportunity to host this event and to present the 2004 Awards for Corporate Excellence.

America's companies have always played an essential role in promoting the global reach of free markets, free trade and free enterprise. These principles have helped more people around the world to taste prosperity than any other economic system in all previous human history, enabling millions of men and women to lift themselves and to lift their families out of poverty.

The best American companies, however, do not measure excellence simply in terms of dollars and cents, simply in terms of profits. They realize that economies flourish only when people flourish, when corruption is rooted out and the spread of disease is stemmed, when education is strengthened and basic human rights are protected by the rule of law.

So as we seek to encourage economic growth, we must also work to develop the social and political conditions that undergird prosperity and progress. We must make investments in people and communities as well as in goods and services.

President Bush believes that America must lead by example in this global mission. One of the ways that we are doing that is with a new program we have called the Millennium Challenge Account. Through this bold new initiative, we are directing new foreign assistance, development assistance, to those countries that are now governing justly and they are developing, they are reforming their economies and they're investing in the health and education of their people.

To implement President Bush's vision, we borrowed from the best practices of the private sector and created a unique corporation to run the Millennium Challenge Account, called the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which is a government program that is run like a business. And I am proud to be Chairman of the Board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, we negotiate compacts, or contracts, with developing countries, establishing mutual responsibilities and expectations. We invest in their projects, much like a venture capitalist would. But we do not expect a financial profit. We measure our return, instead, in the economic growth and poverty reduction of developing countries. We will measure our progress in how people fare. Do they improve their lives? Do they find a better education system for their children? Do they find an opportunity for a job or for a better job? Do they have confidence in their political system? Do they have confidence in their leaders? Do they understand that America is stepping forward to be a partner with their leaders in order to improve their conditions and give them hope for a better future?

The Millennium Challenge Corporation may not be an actual business, but it embodies the enlightened understanding that the best way to do well is to do good. This principle also defines America's best companies, and they put it into practice every single day. We here at the State Department are proud to encourage corporations that expand opportunity and promote the conditions of peace and prosperity far beyond our shores.

And today, we honor two exemplary companies with the Award for Corporate Excellence. This Award was created in 1999 to recognize the important role American businesses play abroad as responsible corporate citizens. All around the world, our ambassadors, our chiefs of mission, submit the names of companies that exhibit conscience, character and integrity in their business practices. This year, we received 50 worthy nominations, from which we have selected this year's two winners.

I am pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence in the Small to Medium Size Enterprise Category is FIJI Water of Basalt, Colorado. For nearly a decade, this company has done a lot more than bottle water in the South Pacific. FIJI Water has reached out to communities all around the island and helped them to meet their most important social needs. FIJI Water directs a percentage of its total revenues into a trust fund, and the money in that trust fund is used to improve education, sanitation, to improve the infrastructure on the island. To strengthen early childhood education even further, FIJI Water built kindergarten classrooms and helped to staff them with certified, well-equipped teachers.

FIJI Water has also enabled several of its promising local employees to get a college education. FIJI Water is committed to protecting and enhancing the local environment in which it works and which it depends upon to be a successful business. Fijians take special pride in their island's tranquil beauty and FIJI Water has matched their passion with action. The company encourages the responsible management of Fiji's national treasures and recently provided disaster relief after devastating storms and floods.

More than a good corporate citizen, FIJI Water is a good neighbor to all the people of Fiji. It is therefore my great pleasure to present the Department of State's Award for Corporate Excellence to Mr. David Gilmour, Founder and Chairman of FIJI Water.

Secretary Powell presents an Award for Corporate Excellence to David H. Gilmour, Founder and Chairman, FIJI Water. State Dept. Photo.Would you please come forward, Mr. Gilmour. (Applause.) 

(Presentation of Award.)

MR. GILMOUR: Mr. Secretary, all of us at FIJI Water are more than grateful and honored to receive this Award. It acknowledges the introduction of a sustainable, new industry to Fiji involving the world's most precious commodity, water. There would be no life on Earth without it, and this commodity, which replenishes itself, is unusual as a commodity because it will never be depleted so long as it is properly managed.

Our company has, since its inception, mobilized a foundation that the Secretary mentioned to improve the environment, create employment and educational opportunities in Fiji. I have long believed that in early childhood, education is essential because without preparation there is no opportunity.

To date, we have built five kindergartens in neighboring villages and put a myriad of other programs into place to support the students and teachers in the area. Resources from the trust fund are also being used to improve the quality of life in the Fijian villages.

The most important components of our success have been the outstanding relationship we have with the Government of Fiji. From the very beginning, they understood and realized the vision that would only improve the quality of life for the Fijian people. The government has agreed to protect, in perpetuity, this area, the entire catchment area, surrounding the FIJI Water source.

This action will ensure that FIJI Water continues to be -- and our success is being based upon -- that the world's best-tasting water, the most unique mineral content and pure source, a source that is 1,500 miles from the nearest pollution, industrial pollution.

FIJI Water hopes to soon become the largest contributor of tax and royalties to the Republic of Fiji. This contribution is essential by any investor in any part of the developing world.

As the country of Fiji looks to the future, it is our hope that the successful model of ours of economic development demonstrated by FIJI Water will encourage additional responsible investment in that country that will bring about economic growth and educational and cultural opportunities. Perhaps this model can be a model for other parts of the developing world.

Finally, it is in the heart and soul of Fijian people that has led to FIJI Water's success. The pride of ownership that our Fijian team has developed through distributing hundreds of millions of our little square ambassadors around the world has impacted not only their individual lives but also the hopes and dreams of a developing nation. I share this honor with them.

And in closing, I'd just like to say a special thanks to the State Department for providing a U.S. Ambassador and a remarkable team in Fiji that is the very best that I have ever met in my 7 million miles of business travel. Thank you.


SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, David, and congratulations to all who are watching us live in Fiji.

Now it is my pleasure to announce the recipient of this year's Award for Corporate Excellence in the Multinational Category, Motorola, of Schaumburg, Illinois, for its innovative outreach efforts in Brazil.

Motorola understands that a crucial part of doing business in another country is becoming actively involved in the life of the local community. Working with police chiefs all across Brazil, Motorola is helping concerned citizens fight crime, fight crime in their communities, by providing them with vehicles and radios to enhance vigilance.

Brazil's Ministry of Justice was so impressed that they asked Motorola to write a book about their creative policing program.

Fighting crime also means reaching out to at-risk youth, which Motorola has done through mentoring programs and after-school soccer classes that keep kids on the field and off the streets. In addition, Motorola has donated more than $230 million over the past decade to a technical college in Sao Paolo, creating thousands and thousands of good jobs.

This same passion to make a difference inspires Motorola's environmental efforts. Motorola treats all of the wastewater produced at its plant so as not to contribute to Brazil's shortage of clean drinking water. Motorola has also led a nationwide effort to recycle batteries, collecting over 100 tons of old car and cell phone batteries so far.

Motorola's commitment to responsible corporate citizenship is an inspiration for businesses everywhere. It therefore gives me great pleasure to present our 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence to Ed Zander, Chairman and CEO of Motorola. (Applause.)

(Presentation of Award.) Secretary Powell presents an Award for Corporate Excellence to Edward J. Zander, Chairman and CEO, Motorola. State Dept. Photo.

MR. ZANDER: Thank you, Secretary Powell. Good afternoon, everyone. And hello to our folks in Brazil; we are so honored to have you with us, too. I am honored to accept this Award on behalf of Motorola, a company with a 76-year commitment to corporate citizenship. Motorola creates products and technologies that benefit society by making things smarter and life better for people around the world.

Motorola is always more than just an employer and Motorola Brazil exemplifies our belief in the importance of engaging actively in the communities where we do business, such as Brazil. For example, more than 900 employees dedicated more than 13,000 hours to volunteering in their neighborhoods this year. We've recycled more than 100 tons of used batteries since 1999. As the Secretary said, we have invested more than $230 million in our Industrial and Technological Campus in Sao Paolo, creating jobs for more than 4,000 Brazilians.

We sponsor literacy, cultural, education and public safety programs, which our country manager, Luis Cornetta, will speak to shortly.

The Award is a timely reminder for Motorola that we play an important role in society beyond the obviously commercial contributions. Our values say just as much about us as our profits. I commend the State Department for recognizing outstanding companies in the area of citizenship, environmental protection and employment practices, and I'm especially proud that Motorola is the only company to have earned this high distinction twice. Our Malaysian team was honored in 2000. I commit to embedding these high standards wherever Motorola does business.

Once again, congratulations to our team in Brazil, and thank you to the State Department. If I look really, really excited today, it's also because I'm a Boston Red Sox fan -- so thank you. (Laughter and applause.)

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Ed, and congratulations to all of you joining us from Sao Paolo.

My friends, to seize the many opportunities of our globalizing world, we must focus on making connections, connections of the kind you heard described here today. We must work to connect America's citizens with people all across the globe, promoting greater understanding of the interests and ideas that bind us all together.

We must also make connections between our many initiatives to build a better world. In this new century, economic growth, democracy, development and peace are more deeply connected than ever before and we must work hard to draw these principles together, these connections together, into an expanding circle of freedom and prosperity that touches the lives of people everywhere.

America's corporations have a unique role to play in this unprecedented mission, and as all of the nominees for this year's Award clearly show, our nation's companies are stepping up to this challenge. They are serving as our ambassadors to the world, expressing and advancing the universal principles of liberty and human dignity that define the very soul of our nation.

I thank you all very much for the good work that you do. All of you represent the best of America and I salute you. And I would now like to turn the evening over to Assistant Secretary Tony Wayne, who will lead the interactive portion of today's program. Thank you very much.


Released on October 28, 2004

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