Arlington, VA, March 18, 2004 - Last year’s winners of the Better Business Bureaus’ International Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics included a small all-female plumbing contractor firm in Iowa City; a 40-year-old family-owned commercial printing business out of Baker, LA; an aesthetically-minded and environmental-friendly specialty roofing and historical restoration company based in Columbus, OH, and an insurance and financial services company in West Des Moines that has provided consistent value for shareholders and stakeholders, even in depressed markets, for more than 80 years.
While the honorees represent disparate lines of business and hail from different parts of the country, they all have one thing in common: an unwavering commitment to adhere to high standards of conduct in their relations with customers, employees, investors, suppliers, communities, and, even their competitors.
"It’s time once again for honest, upstanding businesses – of any size – to earn recognition for operating with honesty, respect and integrity. Codes of conduct are important, time-honored values do make a difference, and the Golden Rule is still relevant," said Ken Hunter, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “We encourage the many fine companies that serve our marketplace with distinction to enter our competition and heighten public appreciation for ethical business practices.”
The deadline for entry in this year’s BBB International Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics competition is Friday, April 16, 2004.
The competition rules, judging criteria, suggestions for completing an entry packet, formal entry form, and profiles of past winners are available online at the Torch Award Web site (www.bbb.org/BizEthics/contest.asp) or by contacting the Council of Better Business Bureaus at 703.247.9312.
Each year's winning businesses receive national publicity, a crystal trophy and the right to advertise the BBB International Torch Award honor. This year’s winners and finalists, to be selected by an independent panel of ethics experts, will be recognized at a special ceremony in New Orleans on September 20, 2004.
Businesses need not operate internationally to enter the competition and a formal or full-scale ethics program is not a requirement. With four size categories, the BBB Torch Award permits even the smallest of businesses to earn recognition for their marketplace ethics.
Hunter added, "Our judges look for sincerity and a company-wide commitment to always do the right thing. They are seeking entries that illustrate distinctive ways in which a business
The award is open to all for-profit businesses that serve retail and wholesale markets in the U.S., Canada or communities in Mexico that are within the service area of BBBs. Nominees must be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau; however, membership in the BBB is not a qualification for entry. Businesses whose primary markets are government entities (local, state or federal) are not eligible. There is a $50, non-refundable entry fee.
Serving on the panel of judges for the 2004 BBB International Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics are: Al Beatty, retired senior vice president, Council of Better Business Bureaus; Andy Bishop, president, Baker Printing Company in Baker, LA [winner of the 2003 International Torch Award]; Sharon Brock, Faculty Emeritus, Ohio State University; Joan Koebernick, owner of Dakota-K Auto Repair & Tire Center in Arlington, Heights, IL [winner of the 2000 National Torch Award]; and Ken Nees, retired senior vice president and corporate secretary, Sony Electronics, Inc.