BNP Paribas announced that it will abstain from voting the climate resolution at Total’s General Assembly on Friday. For Reclaim Finance, it is a polite way to signal that the oil company’s last climate measures are largely insufficient.
11 shareholders, including La Banque Postale AM, le Crédit Mutuel Asset Management, les Assurances du Crédit Mutuel or Meeschaert, filed a resolution to ask Total to adopt absolute decarbonization objectives and a detailed strategy to reach them, therefore aligning with the Paris Agreement(1). Total reacted by announcing new climate commitments, a move supported by BNP Paribas and Hermes EOS(2). The shareholders behind the climate resolution welcomed these announcements but assessed that they are largely insufficient and decided to maintain the resolution.
While Jean Lemierre, President of BNP’s board of directors, is also a member of Total’s board, BNP declared that it will abstain during the climate resolution vote(3).
Lucie Pinson, Director of Reclaim Finance, analyzes: “At the current stage, three votes are possible. Voting against the resolution, which means that Total does enough for climate, a difficult position to justify with no targets to reduce absolute GHG emissions in the short or medium term(4). Voting for the resolution means recognizing climate urgency and modifying Total’s strategy to protect both humankind and the company’s interests. To abstain is simply a way to not publicly forsake the group, while signaling that the current strategy is not up to the task and pushing Total to get back to work.”
Last week, the biggest British pension fund, Nest(5), announced that it will vote for the resolution. This resolution is historical, it is the first one of its type in France. The votes of main French investors remain unknown. With entangled staff and directions, managers living in the same world and high business stakes, climate may not be the decisional factor in their votes on Friday.
“We are pleasantly surprised by BNP Paribas Asset Management’s decision, even if we would have hoped that it would go further and vote for the resolution. It will be all the more difficult for French investors like Amundi or AXA to justify a potential vote against the resolution now that the investor behind Total’s new climate measures is recognizing that they are insufficient” conclude Lucie Pinson.
Lucie Pinson | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0033 6 79 54 37 15