Press release with Greenpeace France- Paris, 15/04/2020

This is a first in France. If passed, it should lead the oil major to phase out its activities in the oil and gas sectors.

11 shareholders of the oil and gas group Total (1), representing 1.35% of the capital, filed an environmental resolution at the company’s board of directors. This include ACTIAM, La Banque Postale Asset Management, Crédit Mutuel Asset Management, Assurances du Crédit Mutuel and Meeschaert.

This resolution requires Total articulate a roadmap to align its activities with the provisions set forth in the Paris Agreement, and notably articles 2.1(a) and 4.1 therein, indicating (i) the appropriate targets for reduction of direct or indirect greenhouse gas emissions as an absolute value for Company activities related to production, transformation and purchase of energy products (Scope 1 and 2) and use by clients of products sold for final use (Scope 3) in the medium-, and long-term, and (ii) the measures implemented by the Company to achieve said targets”.

This resolution is now submitted to the Board of Directors for approval and, if accepted, will have to be voted on at the next General Shareholders Meeting on May the 29th.

For the first time ever, investors are pushing the CAC 40’s largest CO2 emitter to transform its businesses in order to respond to the climate emergency. Today we must welcome the action of these 11 investors, including Banque Postale and Crédit Mutuel Asset Management or Meeschaert. But we must also notice and question the absence of the largest French investors, including BNP Paribas that is leading the engagement with Total for the CA100+” (2) comments Lucie Pinson, director of the NGO Reclaim Finance. “Faced with Total’s responsibility in the climate and environmental crisis, inaction is not an option: investors must either divest or support and vote for this resolution.”

A strategic 180-degree shift for the oil company?

“If adopted at the next General Shareholders’ Meeting, this resolution will lead to a drastic change in the strategy of the oil company. Over the past two years, Total has timidly diversified its activities in order to gradually reduce its dependence on oil while maintaining its business model for as long as possible,” comments Edina Ifticène, oil campaign manager for Greenpeace France. “But the baby steps and talks that the company is used to are not enough to achieve the carbon neutrality required by 2050 to meet the 1.5°C target. It will be necessary to definitively abandon the old polluting oil and gas machine to finally initiate a real energy transition”.

To comply with this resolution, Total will have to start divesting massively from oil and gas exploration projects as early as 2020, and above all abandon the opening of new fields such as the Anadarko field in Mozambique, where a veritable climate bomb is ticking. According to Carbon Tracker, Total will have to reduce by at least 40% its emissio and reduce its production by 35% by 2040 in order to align its activities with a Paris-compliant scenario (3). Meeting carbon neutrality by 2050 requires the gradual closure of existing fossil fuels infrastructures. Total must immediately stop promoting false solutions to fight climate change such as carbon offsetting or palm-oil-based agrofuels. All these measures contradict the operational choices made by Total today.

(1) This include Actiam, Candriam, Crédit Mutuel Asset Management et les Assurances du Crédit Mutuel, Ecofi Investissements, Friends Provident Foundation, Fédéral Finance Gestion, La Banque Postale Asset Management, Meeschaert AM and Sycomore Asset Management. Their PR can be found here:

(2) The CA 100 + is a group of investors who collectively engage with more than 150 high GES emitters in order to push them to align their activities with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Launched in December 2017, this coalition now brings together 450 investors with more than 40 trillion dollars in assets under management.

[3] “Balancing the Budget: Why deflating the carbon bubble requires oil & gas companies to shrink”- Novembre 2019

Contacts :

  • Reclaim Finance / Lucie Pinson: +33 (0)6 79 54 37 15
  • Greenpeace France / Cécile Cailliez: +33 (0)6 13 07 04 29