Top Companies and Two Washington Non-Profit Leaders Honored Nationally by Better Business Bureau
Arlington, Virginia -March 31, 2009 – A top retailer, a car company, a tech leader, a construction firm and two Washington non-profit leaders were honored this evening at the BBB International Torch Awards event in Washington, D.C. The Torch Awards are given by the Council of Better Business Bureaus to recognize businesses and executives exhibiting integrity in the marketplace and exemplary dedication to advancing trust between businesses and consumers.
“Our current economic mess is directly traceable to the loss of confidence and trust that we have in the banking system and Wall Street, in business generally, in the government and, to some extent, in each other,” said Pete Blackshaw, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategic Services, Nielsen Online, and Chairman of the Board of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “It is crucial that those of us who work so hard to advance trust in the marketplace – who understand the relationship of ethical and trustworthy behavior to economic success – gather to celebrate the ‘best of the best’ in business and consumer leadership.”
American Honda Motor Company and Target Corporation received the BBB Torch Award for Advancing Marketplace Trust, which recognizes businesses that set high standards of excellence for trust through innovative voluntary actions, programs, or sustainment activities. American Honda was recognized 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. Target Corporation, one of the Council’s corporate partners and a BBB Accredited Business with the BBB in St. Paul for nearly 30 years, was recognized for being consistently ranked as one of the most philanthropic organizations in the country.
Two companies – Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. and Messer Construction Co. – received the BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence, which recognizes superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and surrounding communities. Freescale, a former division of Motorola, upholds the highest ethical standards, for which it is known globally. The company has defined seven core values, what it calls its “Freescale Fundamentals,” that guide their culture and business operations. Employee-owned Messer Construction embodies the commitment and best practices of an ethical company, including 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.
The BBB President’s Award is given as special recognition for sustained superior performance that fundamentally changed the marketplace, and shaped the definition and expectation of trust for all marketplace participants. Cass Wheeler, the recently retired CEO of the American Heart Association, was presented the award by Council President and CEO Steven J. Cole, who said, “Throughout his career, Mr. Wheeler has been a strong advocate for charitable accountability and has championed both good health for people and good fiscal health for the nonprofit sector.” He noted that Wheeler served on the BBB Wise Giving Alliance board for more than 20 years, and was instrumental in establishment of a charity seal.
The BBB Torch Award for Consumer Leadership went to William Novelli, chief executive officer of AARP and former President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. His award was presented by Matthew Myers, the current President of the Campaign and a long-time associate. “Throughout his career, Mr. Novelli has been recognized for his integrity, ingenuity, and advocacy skills on behalf of underserved populations,” said Myers. “From health issues to relief and development, and from social marketing to social change, he has charted an amazing course and built a legacy of extensive contributions to trust in the marketplace through a career dedicated to consumer advocacy, protection and education.”
The BBB International Torch Awards event was held this evening at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in downtown Washington, D.C. Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball and NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show, delivered the keynote address, and ABC Good Morning America’s consumer reporter Elisabeth Leamy served as mistress of ceremonies. Entertainment was provided by the renowned political satire group, The Capitol Steps. Verizon Wireless was a “Performance Circle” sponsor of the event.
Presented annually since 1996, the BBB International Torch Awards recognize companies and individuals that maintain outstanding dedication to upholding ethical business standards and promoting trust in the marketplace. BBB Torch Awards are awarded locally by more than 80 BBBs across the U.S. and Canada and on the international stage by the Council of Better Business Bureaus – the national organization representing the BBB system.
BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about BBB.