Non-signatories are unlikely to be frightened by the tone of the testimony. Three of the four new values could have been taken up from almost any corporate mission, vision or statement of values written in recent decades. Shareholder value is now seen as important as “delivering value to our customers”, “investing in our people” and “dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers”. Only one, “support for the communities in which we work,” could be considered altruistic. Jim Beck, Alcoa`s director of internal and external communications, says his company “is not currently conducting any interviews” and has not responded to requests for comment on why Alcoa`s president and CEO did not sign Roy Harvey. There were seven other CEOs who did not sign for various reasons: Roy Harvey at Alcoa, Stephen Schwarzman at Blackstone, Larry Culp at General Electric, Bernard Tyson at Kaiser Permanente, James Robo at NextEra Energy, Thomas Williams at Parker Hannifin and Michael Tipsord at State Farm. In electronic comments, Kaiser Permanente and State Farm said they agreed with the statement, but did not sign because they had no shareholders; Kaiser is a non-profit hospitalization and health plan, while State Farm is a mutual company that “serves the interests of our policyholders.” A spokesperson for the Business Roundtable noted that a non-signature does not necessarily mean that the CEO does not support the statement. The new declaration contains 181 signatures from the current 192 members of the Business Roundtable. Some companies that did not sign were not allowed to do so due to the absence of an interim chief executive or a change of company between the executives. In terms of fiscal policy, the roundtable was responsible for extending the tax cuts signed by Ronald Reagan in 1985 and successfully committed to a drastic reduction in corporate taxes.
On trade policy, she advocated for the opening of foreign markets to US trade and investment. The Omnibus Trade Act of 1988 reflected the thinking of the Business Roundtable. In 1990, the roundtable asked George Bush to launch a free trade agreement with Mexico. In 1993, the round table committed itself to NAFTA and strong side agreements on labour and the environment. It provided the money and direction to the main pro-NAFTA lobby. This is a very high bar, but fortunately, consumers do not expect even the companies that signed the agreement to achieve this goal. A clear majority of consumers say businesses should act responsibly, but they don`t believe companies can solve the world`s problems or share the same concerns as their customers, according to a recent study by FleishmanHillard.