BBB Torch Awards Venue
At a recent awards dinner sponsored by the Council of Better Business Bureau in Washington D.C., I had the privilege of presenting to four exemplary businesses the BBB's highest awards for marketplace ethics. The BBB is all about marketplace trust, and at a time when our nation is experiencing an unmistakable crisis in trust, the beacons of light that the winning companies represent deserved this spotlight. The event was held at the spectacular Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., where the BBB hosted a full house—an impressive achievement in and of itself in a very tough economic climate. The goal was to celebrate the “best of the best” in business and consumer leadership who conduct their businesses with the utmost integrity, compassion and dependability.
Following a year-long search, first recognizing companies at the local BBB Bureau level, and then culling from a large pool from across North America, two companies were selected for the BBB’s International Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. The 2009 winners were Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. of Austin, Texas, and Messer Construction Company of Cincinnati, OH. Both companies uphold exceptional business standards that benefit their customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and surrounding communities. As a business-owner, it is valuable to glimpse into the reasons for the success of these companies, as a reminder that “doing right” can take your business farther and higher than any effort to win the short-game at the expense of building marketplace trust.
Freescale is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The company was a division of Motorola until 2004, when it became its own company, first public and then, in 2006, a successful private company. The company has defined seven core values, what it calls its “Freescale Fundamentals,” that guide their culture and business operations. One of their fundamentals is what they call ‘impeccable ethics,’ to guide every aspect of the company’s operation, which provides employees with values-based guidance to go beyond the requirements of law and to always do the right thing.
Lucie Voves (right) presenting the BBB International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence to Pete Strange (left), Chairman, Messer Construction of Cincinnati.
Employee-owned Messer Construction has, over 77 years, earned a sterling reputation through a combination of hard work, outstanding performance, and ethical business practices. Its commitment to excellent customer service includes open-book record keeping, a 100 percent performance guarantee, and state-of-the-art technology that enables every member of a project team, including the customer, 24/7 access to project files. Messer is guided by 13 key values that provide employee/owners with a framework for enhancing clients’ success. One of their corporate sayings is: “We not only have control of how we make a living, we have control of the life we choose to live.”
The second group of awards I had the honor of delivering were the BBB’s International Torch Awards for Advancing Marketplace Trust. This award is presented to businesses in recognition of an action or program that significantly contributes to advancing trust in the marketplace. The winners this year are American Honda Motor Company, based in Torrance, California, and Target Corporation, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
American Honda was honored for consistently developing and producing some of the industry’s most innovative and fuel-efficient vehicles, while at the same time balancing production and environmental, safety and social responsibility concerns. For more than 40 years, Honda has supported programs and projects that focus on maintaining a clean and healthy environment for communities throughout the country. The company is committed to “green” building: using standards of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – or LEED –to build five new green buildings in the past year in California, Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon. The company is also committed to enabling the most innovative thinkers in the academic world with the Honda Initiation Grant. Honda also recently won the 2nd Annual “Earth Angel” award at Road & Travel Magazine’s International Car of the Year Awards. The “Earth Angel” Award is given for “demonstrating the most significant progress with environmental initiatives and partnerships on a worldwide basis.”
Lucie Voves (right) presenting BBB Torch Award for Advancing Marketplace Trust to Laysha Ward (left), President, Community Relations and Target Foundation, Target Corporation of Minneapolis.
Since 1946, Target Corporation
has invested five percent of its pretax income in the communities it serves, giving away more than three million dollars a week through grants and special programs. Target’s team members and retirees volunteer millions of hours to some 58,000 nonprofits and community projects across the country. They’ve done everything from serving meals to the elderly, to reading to young people, to helping communities respond to disasters. The company is also dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint, and more than a decade ago was one of the first large retailers to commit to “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Target has developed urban stores on “brown fields” sites, experimented with “green roofs” in Chicago, is lighting a California store almost entirely with skylights, plus other innovations which have made the company a leader in sustainable facilities. We can all glean useful insights from learning more about these companies that are committed to behaving ethically as a means to sustain and grow their businesses over the long haul, even when the going gets tough