In December, the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) was awarded the State Department’s coveted Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) for its outstanding corporate stewardship of Denimatrix in Guatemala. The award, presented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, honors exemplary conduct, corporate responsibility and innovation in a company’s overseas operations. Only three companies a year receive the award; the other recipients this year were Mars Candy and Cisco Systems. This is the first time a textile company has received the award.
In presenting the award to Wally Darnielle, CEO of PCCA, Secretary Clinton praised PCCA and Denimatrix “for the exemplary care they show for their employees, their respect for the local community, and their commitment to the environment.” Since PCCA launched Denimatrix in early 2009, the company has added an on-site pharmacy, a dental clinic, a vision clinic and on site employee health education in addition to providing medical care with on-site doctors. Denimatrix, which employs six thousand workers in Guatemala City, also offers its health services to the surrounding community.
In accepting the award, Darnielle thanked his colleagues in Guatemala and said that the programs Denimatrix has developed not only made the operation more productive but were also embraced by buyers and brands. “When our apparel customers come to visit our plant, as Secretary Clinton mentioned, one of the strongest impressions that people like Gap take away is our commitment to saving jobs and to saving the environment.” In the environmental arena, Denimatrix’s wastewater treatment plant exceeds all government regulations, and their G2 laundry system washes jeans with ozone instead of water, reducing wastewater output.
PCCA is the only completely vertical fiber-textile-apparel company in the United States and Central America. PCCA represents a cooperative of farmers that grows approximately one-third of the U.S. cotton crop, a mill outside of Lubbock Texas that employs 700 workers and weaves cotton yarn into denim fabric, and the Denimatrix operation in Guatemala which sews denim jeans for sale in the U.S. market.