On November 28, 2012, then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented Tea Importers, Inc. and SORWATHE with the 2012 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). The honor is bestowed annually on two U.S. companies, with one award given to a small to medium-sized business, and the other to a large multinational enterprise. Tea Importers and SORWATHE won in the small to medium-sized category.
Before presenting the award to Tea Importers and SORWATHE, Secretary Clinton emphasized the importance of American businesses being good ambassadors for the values the United States wishes to promote overseas. Clinton stated that the impressions people have of the United States are shaped largely by American businesses.
“It’s how millions and millions of people find out about our values, what we really stand for, what kind of people we are,” she said. “It’s critically important for the interests of our foreign policy for our American companies to operate responsibly and well.”
Clinton said she was honored to present the award to “two exceptional companies that are giving back to the communities where they do business.”
Clinton commended the work of SORWATHE, calling the business an environmental leader, a pioneer on workers’ rights, and a positive force in the local community. An excerpt of Secretary Clinton’s and Mr. Andrew Wertheim’s comments made at the ceremony are available here. Additional photos of the festivities are available here.
Other awards recently received by Tea Importers and SORWATHE include an award for best green tea at the 2nd Africa Tea Convention and Exhibition (August 29, 2013) and a first place award for its Rukeri estate tea in a competition for best Rwanda tea at the North American Tea Conference (September 25, 2013).