Center for Corporate Citizenship Partnership Conference - remarks by Suzanne P. Clark | U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Center for Corporate Citizenship Partnership Conference - remarks by Suzanne P. Clark

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 8:00pm

Welcome Remarks by Suzanne Clark

Washington, D.C.
May 19, 2005

Good morning, and welcome to the 2005 Center for Corporate Citizenship Partnership Conference.

I'm Suzanne Clark, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the U.S. Chamber and President of the Center for Corporate Citizenship.

Allow me to first thank our event sponsors, without whose support this event would not be possible…

DaimlerChrysler, AIG, McDonald's, Capital One, Glaxo Smith Kline, KPMG, Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture, and Abbott Labs.

We have an excellent lineup of expert speakers, and I would just simply like to set the stage by offering a few initial thoughts on today's theme.

At the Chamber, we strongly believe that corporate citizenship is directly linked to successful business practices. That is why, through the CCC, we promote, teach, and celebrate corporate citizenship.

Perhaps nowhere is the link between corporate citizenship and successful business practices better illustrated than in the arena of international trade and investment.

Companies that invest in overseas markets must create conditions for progress and prosperity in those communities for their investment to pay off.

An educated and well-trained workforce, a strong consumer class, a reliable transportation infrastructure, sufficient health care facilities, transparent economic systems…all of these things are necessary for overseas investments to succeed and for trading relationships to flourish.

That's why companies like Chiquita adopt higher labor and environmental standards than are legally required …

… why Caterpillar conducts ethical training for all of its employees worldwide …

… why Chevron invests in schools, hospitals, roads, and houses ...

… why IBM invests in education and technology training ...

… And why American Chambers of Commerce overseas-AmChams-are making valuable contributions as well.

AmCham Jamaica is committed to reducing violent crime in Kingston. AmCham South Africa conducts an ongoing HIV/AIDS workforce program. AmCham Shanghai launched the first corporate volunteerism initiative in China.

These may be acts of charity, but they are also smart business decisions that produce tangible social and economic benefits.

However, these social and economic benefits too often go unnoticed and are underappreciated.

So, as we begin our program, let me offer you three challenges.

First, as we press hard on our international trade agenda, including:

A free trade deal with the Dominican Republic and Central America, protecting the rights of businesses to source around the globe, and breathing new life into the Doha Development Agenda talks…help us build good will by telling your success stories in developing communities.

Second, help us build good relations between businesses and their community partners here in the U.S. and overseas.

And, finally, help us build new markets by sharing your skills and experiences in education, infrastructure, health care systems, disaster reconstruction, ethics, rule of law, and other social needs that contribute to market development.

Paul Applegarth, president and CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, is very knowledgeable on these matters.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC, was established in January 2004, partly in response to President Bush's call for a "new compact for global development" that links greater contributions from developed nations to greater responsibility from developing nations.

In his role with MCC, Paul administers the Millennium Challenge Account, a groundbreaking initiative designed to reduce poverty by promoting sustainable growth in countries that rule justly, invest in their people, and promote economic freedom.

Before taking his current role, Paul was a Managing Director of Emerging Markets Partnership, an asset management firm that specializes in international private equity and debt investments in emerging markets.

He was also Chief Operating Officer of the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, a public/private partnership devoted to developing infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa.

Paul also worked as an investment banker with American Express/Lehman Brothers and is credited with helping turn around the United Way of America following its troubles in the early 1990s.

We couldn't ask for a more fitting opening speaker for this year's Partnership Conference. Please welcome Paul Applegarth.