Secretary of State John KerryWASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ NEWS: The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is pleased to announce the selection of nine finalists for the Secretary of State’s prestigious 2014 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE).

The Secretary of State has awarded the ACE since 1999 to recognize American companies that are leaders in socially responsible activities and contribute to the overall growth and sustainable development of the local economies in which they work.

An interagency committee chaired by the State Department chose these U.S. companies from 39 nominations submitted by U.S. ambassadors around the world. The finalists for this year, listed in alphabetical order, are:

Chevron in Burma assisted local communities in 1,500 villages through its sustainable health improvement and empowerment program by providing funding to villagers for improvements in business, transmittable disease prevention (TB/malaria), agricultural practices, and infrastructure. The company’s entrepreneurial programs have also empowered more than 8,000 women to start-up and operate their own businesses.

Coca-Cola in the Philippines provided disaster relief services to areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Coca-Cola also improved water quality through supporting watersheds, increased access to safe water, and educated communities on water conservation. The company partnered with the Philippine Department of Education to increase access to primary education for more than 60,000 disadvantaged children.

ContourGlobal in Togo supported sustainable development through operating a filtration system that purifies water from its operations. This electric power producer also funded access to life-saving municipal water supplies for local communities and provided impoverished schools with valuable training.

EcoPlanet Bamboo in Nicaragua fostered sustainable development by regenerating degraded pasturelands. The company also dedicated 20 percent of its plantations as a natural habitat area which protected biodiversity by prohibited illegal hunting. EcoPlanet also focused on employing persons with disabilities and empowering women through recruitment to managerial positions.

General Electric in South Africa provided important technology transfer and training to local communities and operated a multimillion-dollar supplier development program to build capacity among local businesses. GE also promoted human welfare through funding the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and local hospitals and schools.

General Electric in Tunisia provided English language and professional training for teachers. The company also supported leadership training to the public and private sector decision-makers to raise human capacity and standards for small and medium businesses, including 20 local small and medium-size enterprises as suppliers to help in-country partners meet international standards.

GlassPoint Solar in Oman used state-of-the-art technology to address the country’s critical shortage of natural gas. It operated a steam generation pilot program that enhances natural gas recovery. The company also adhered to best practices for operating crews regarding work hours in the hot Arabian Peninsula and maintained an exemplary health and safety record.

Linden Center in China operated in an ecologically sustainable manner that fostered awareness and appreciation for cultural heritage. It renovated an important historic building and converted it into a boutique hotel, which promotes local musicians and other artists. Linden also recruits employees from local communities to promote pride in their cultural heritage.

Wagner Asia in Mongolia is a machine dealership committed to public-private partnerships with Mongolia’s local and national governments to protect the environment, including through planting more than 900 trees and rehabilitating a toxic waste site. Wagner also recruited and employed persons with disabilities and provided employees with medical care and generous financing for housing.

The 2014 ACE winners will be announced at the annual ceremony hosted by the Secretary of State on December 9th at the State Department.

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.