2013 Appeal of Conscience Award - Louis R. Chênevert
May 30, 2013
Thank you, Marty [Lipton], for that wonderful introduction. It’s truly an honor to be introduced by someone as distinguished as Marty. Thank you for your kind words and for the great counsel you’ve provided United Technologies for several decades. Let me begin by saying I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of United Technologies and our 220,000 employees around the world. It’s a privilege for me to be here tonight with Rabbi Schneier, a man who has dedicated his life to overcoming hatred and intolerance and to making the world a better place. Rabbi, it truly is an honor to share the stage with you. I’d also like to offer my congratulations to President Yudhoyono for receiving the World Statesman Award. This award is well deserved. President Yudhoyono has been an unwavering advocate for human rights, for promoting the rule of law and for improving prosperity for the people of Indonesia. Mr. President, congratulations. I’m looking forward to your remarks later this evening.

Tonight, we gather as a diverse group, representing more than 25 countries with different governments, diverse backgrounds and a variety of perspectives. Yet, we all share a common purpose: A commitment to freedom, human rights, rule of law and advancing peace and prosperity around the world.

I know the global environment for business is more competitive and challenging than ever. At the same time, in certain parts of the world, individuals face an uncertain future, are denied access to the most basic human rights and often encounter a dangerous, sometimes even life-threatening environment.

In the face of these challenges, it is essential that we all come together and fully engage one another – as countries, as businesses and as individuals – to strengthen the common bonds between us. And, tonight, I’d like to spend a few minutes talking about how fostering this greater collaboration can drive innovation and provide solutions to our greatest challenges.

If you think about it for a moment, business-led innovation, particularly during the last century, has done an amazing job overcoming some very powerful challenges, such as gravity, weather, long-distance travel and communications.

At UTC, we’re proud of our long history of driving innovation. Many of our businesses were started by individuals who transformed their industries with game-changing products and technologies:

Willis Carrier, for example, invented modern air conditioning; Igor Sikorsky almost single-handedly perfected the modern helicopter; and Elisha Graves Otis invented the first safe elevator.

It’s important to note that Otis didn’t invent the first elevator. In fact, elevators, in some form, have been in existence since construction of the Egyptian pyramids. What Otis did – through the use of a safety brake – was to make them safe, which made it practical to construct buildings higher than a few stories.

Many people don’t know that, 160 years ago, the first Otis safety elevator was sold to a furniture factory just a couple miles from here on Hudson Street. And since then, Otis elevators have enabled the construction of many landmark skyscrapers in this great city, including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

Today, the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, has 163 floors. It also has 57 Otis elevators. The highest one reaches more than 1,650 feet into the sky. And the fastest one moves passengers almost 22 miles per hour – a rate of almost 30 feet per second. And every year, we move the world’s population more than 100 times.

I share this information with you to illustrate a larger point: That business-led innovation has and will continue to make a profound difference on the world and vastly improve living conditions around us.

Looking ahead, the one constant will be the continued rapid pace of change. For example, every year for the next two decades 20-plus million people will move to urban centers, pursuing better lives for themselves and their families.Looking ahead, the one constant will be the continued rapid pace of change. For example, every year for the next two decades 20-plus million people will move to urban centers, pursuing better lives for themselves and their families.

This rapid urbanization presents many challenges – increased demand for energy and water; increased need for quality health care and education; and increased need for meaningful employment and advancement opportunities. Overcoming these challenges will require new solutions, drawing on our most limitless resource – the capacity of the human mind to innovate.

At UTC, we believe so strongly in the capacity of the human mind and the value of life-long learning we’ve invested more than $1 billion in our Employee Scholar Program. This program enables all of our employees to pursue any degree of their choosing – no strings attached. As of today, our investment has resulted in nearly 35,000 degrees earned by our employees around the world. But more important than the degrees is the education that enables our employees to engage with the rest of the world with new skills, more confidence and the vision to tackle even greater challenges.

We all love stories of individuals who invent something that changes the world – like Elisha Otis or Willis Carrier or Igor Sikorsky. But, I believe the future of innovation and our ability to develop the best solutions for our most complex challenges will not come from individuals.

Rather, our biggest opportunity comes from bringing together people from diverse backgrounds – dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people working together and sharing their knowledge, experience and passion to solve complex problems. This level of global collaboration yields the greatest innovations. For example, in the case of my company, it resulted in our game-changing and truly revolutionary new engine technology, the Geared Turbo Fan.

This scale of collaboration requires the ability to quickly and efficiently communicate among large groups of people around the world. While the technology to do this exists today, we’ve not fully unlocked this opportunity. There are still too many barriers in some parts of the world blocking the free and open exchange of ideas.

We need to overcome this. We need people to feel free – and be free – to fully engage with each other. This can only happen when the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, rule of law and human rights are well established around the world. Freedom, democracy and the respect for the rights of all individuals unlock the opportunity for, and value of, collaborative innovation.

Many of you here tonight have been champions for these values. We work hard every day to live these values at United Technologies. As our company enters new markets around the world, we bring with us a belief that financial performance and corporate responsibility go hand in hand. This is our approach; and we’re proud of the way our employees across the globe embrace it and engage one another to drive the next generation of innovation.

But we know that’s not enough. True success requires strong moral leadership. As leaders in business, government and faith we all share this responsibility.

Rabbi Schneier, you and your Foundation have accomplished so much in this area and we are proud to support your work, the mission of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and this extraordinary evening.

Thank you.

These comments contain statements which, to the extent they are not statements of historical or present fact, constitute “forward-looking statements” under the securities laws. From time to time, oral or written forward-looking statements may also be included in other materials released to the public. These forward-looking statements are intended to provide management’s current expectations or plans for our future operating and financial performance, based on assumptions currently believed to be valid. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “believe,” “expect,” “plans,” “strategy,” “prospects,” “estimate,” “project,” “target,” “anticipate,” “will,” “should,” “see,” “guidance” and other words of similar meaning in connection with a discussion of future operating or financial performance. These include, among others, statements relating to: future sales, earnings, cash flow, results of operations, uses of cash and other measures of financial performance; the effect of economic conditions in the markets in which we operate and in the United States and globally and any changes therein, including financial market conditions, fluctuation in commodity prices, interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates; levels of end market demand in construction and in both the commercial and defense segments of the aerospace industry; levels of air travel, financial difficulties (including bankruptcy) of commercial airlines; the impact of weather conditions and the financial condition of our customers and suppliers; delays and disruption in delivery of materials and services from suppliers; new business opportunities; cost reduction efforts and restructuring costs and savings and other consequences thereof; the scope, nature or impact of acquisition and divestiture activity, including integration of acquired businesses into our existing businesses; the development, production and support of advanced technologies and new products and services; the anticipated benefits of diversification and balance of operations across product lines, regions and industries; the impact of the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, and labor disputes; the outcome of legal proceedings and other contingencies; future repurchases of common stock; future levels of indebtedness and capital and research and development spending; future availability of credit; pension plan assumptions and future contributions; and the effect of changes in tax, environmental and other laws and regulations in the United States and other countries in which we operate. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. For additional information identifying factors that may cause actual results to vary materially from those stated in the forward-looking statements, see our reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K filed with the SEC from time to time, including, but not limited to, the information included in UTC's Forms 10-K and 10-Q under the headings “Business,” “Risk Factors,” “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Legal Proceedings” and in the notes to the financial statements included in UTC's Forms 10-K and 10-Q.

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