Aspen’s Fiji Water earns honor from Colin Powell
Fiji Water, which bases its United States operations in Basalt, has received special recognition for playing in the global marketplace from Secretary of State Colin Powell.Fiji Water received the Secretary of State’s 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Wednesday evening. Company founder David Gilmour and co-founder and chief executive officer Doug Carlson accepted the award. The company bottles water in Fiji and distributes it in eight countries. Its executive, administrative and marketing arms are located in Basalt.In comments posted on the State Department’s Web site, Powell explained that the Award for Corporate Excellence was created in 1999 to recognize the important role American businesses play abroad as responsible corporate citizens.Fiji Water earned recognition in the medium-sized enterprise category for its various efforts in the villages surrounding its water bottling plant in Fiji, such as expanding education opportunities and improving utilities and infrastructure.”Fijians take special pride in their island’s tranquil beauty and Fiji Water has matched their passion with action,” Powell said at the ceremony. “The company encourages the responsible management of Fiji’s national treasures and recently provided disaster relief after devastating storms and floods.”More than a good corporate citizen, Fiji Water is a good neighbor to all the people of Fiji,” Powell concluded.A statement from the Basalt office of the company noted that Fiji Water brought a clean, new industry that relies on a renewable resource to the island in 1996. “Fiji Water has created more than just jobs,” the company said. “It has created a model for economic development in the island …”The physical plant reflects the best Western understanding of eco-sensitive design and industrial process, and is staffed by local people, many of whom had never before been employed on a full-time basis.”The company has also made its mark on Fiji by improving early childhood education in the villages closest to its plant, according to spokeswoman Killeen Brettmann. So far the company has built five kindergartens in the villages and helped local teachers earn certification.Fiji Water has also established the Natural Waters/Vatukaloko Trust to provide long-term funding for capital improvements at the villages. Trust funds have been used to build and improve churches and civic buildings, and upgrade water and sanitation systems and other utilities.Fiji Water was nominated for the Award for Corporate Excellence by the U.S. ambassador to Fiji. The company had previously been honored by the government of Fiji for developing a long-term relationship with the country.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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