Updated: March 6, 2021
The United States government on Friday honored PVH Corp., a lead investor in the model industrial park in Hawassa, Ethiopia, with the Award for Corporate Excellence in Sustainable Operations.
Emanuel Chirico, CEO of PVH Corp.
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PVH is one of the largest apparel companies in the world with nearly $9 billion in 2017 revenues, and works to maintain and promote sustainable business practices.
But the award given on Friday was primarily because of the work being done in Ethiopia.
PVH, which had envisioned a state-of-the-art, vertically integrated and sustainable industrial park for the production of garments, brought like-minded partners together to create an industrial park in Hawassa, Ethiopia, where fabric mills and apparel factories powered by renewable energy sit beside a treatment plant that reduces the park’s environmental impact.
Employing more than 15,000 workers of which 88 percent are women, the park is seen as a model of bilateral government and business cooperation between the United States and Ethiopia.
The award was accepted by Emanuel Chirico, CEO of PVH, during a ceremony at the State Department in Washington DC.
It was the 19th Secretary of State’s Awards for Corporate Excellence and two winners were announced for the year 2018.
Alaffia, a health and beauty products company which directly employs over 700 women in rural Togo and pays four times the average family income there while it’s contracted with more than 14,000 women as suppliers, won the Award for Corporate Excellence in Women’s Economic Empowerment.
Both plaques were presented by Under Secretary for Political Affairs, David Hale, at an event attended by many people, including the Ambassadors of Togo, Ethiopia and the African Union to the United States, as well as by the U.S. Ambassador to Togo David Gilmour, and Bureau of African Affairs Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan.
Also in attendance were U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Manisha Singh and the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs, Ambassador Matthew Harrington.
Emanuel Chirico, CEO of PVH Corp. said the main goal of PVH’s model industrial park is to provide a better future for Ethiopian workers and families, inspire responsible industrialization across Ethiopia, better the entire population, produce a new market for U.S. products, and ultimately benefit workers in the United States.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Manisha Singh, said the United States has been recognizing outstanding companies since 1999.
She said PVH and Alaffia were recognized because they “uphold high standards and represent American values in the way they do business”.
“One of the reasons we wanted to recognize these two companies here today was for the great work that they do, but also to inspire other companies. We hope that other companies will look at their model and say, ‘We should be doing that as well’,” Ms Singh said.
She said the mission of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is to “empower growth and secure our future”.
“This mission can’t be achieved through government policies alone. Companies and workers play an integral role and produce growth in local economies here in America and abroad. Smart, successful businesses with sustainable operations and community development will contribute to all of our success. Markets and operations around the world create jobs, create prosperity, create security, both at here – here at home and abroad,” she added.
In an interview with TODAY NEWS AFRICA‘s Simon Ateba, Bill McRaith, Chief Supply Chain Officer for PVH, said the award was as a result of teamwork and emphasized how PVH was changing lives in Ethiopia.