Press Release – Reclaim Finance – Monday 22nd March 2021
- This is the main lesson to be drawn from the assessment made by the Climate Action 100+ (CA100+) coalition of 545 investors on the progress made on climate issues by the biggest greenhouse gas emitting companies (1)
- Only 9% of the biggest polluters have a decarbonization strategy, just 5% have sufficient short-term objectives, and 0% have aligned their investments with the objective of limiting warming to 1.5°C
- Among the companies evaluated are several French companies including the oil and gas giant Total SE. On nine indicators assessed, Total SE passes just one.
- Alors que cette initiative lancée pour 5 ans n’en a plus que deux pour faire ses preuves, Reclaim Finance appelle les investisseurs à se saisir des assemblées générales de cette année pour déposer et voter en faveur des résolutions climat.
- While this initiative was launched for 5 years and has two years left to offer results, Reclaim Finance calls on investors to take advantage of this year’s AGMs to table and vote in favor of climate resolutions.
- The director of the CIFF’s climate finance program, behind the Say on Climate initiative, calls on Total SE’s shareholders to vote against the group’s climate strategy and to submit a climate resolution aiming to push the group to quit fossil fuels.
For Lucie Pinson, founder and CEO of Reclaim Finance: “This is irrefutable proof that the biggest polluters do not intend to significantly reduce their impact on the planet. But it is also a wake-up call for investors to radically improve their engagement. The failure of the largest emitters to transition is also the failure of investors, and in particular those who have used the CA100+ logo as a fig leaf to hide their inaction or even obstruction in filing and voting on shareholder climate resolutions.
The Climate Action 100+ Net-Zero Company Benchmark, released today by the investor coalition which manages more than $52 trillion, has evaluated and compared the climate performance of 159 companies that have been engaged by members of the initiative over the past three years. These companies were selected as a result of their responsibility for global greenhouse gas emissions.
And yet, “CA100+ investors have so far considered filing a climate resolution at Total to be a pointless and tedious exercise. It should be remembered that the only climate resolution ever filed in France was filed without the endorsement of the CA100+. This was largely down to BNP Paribas, which was in charge of leading the engagement on behalf of the CA100+ coalition (2), but preferred to join forces with Total in announcing a semblance of a climate strategy, a last-ditch attempt to dissuade shareholders from voting in favor of the resolution” (3) continues Lucie Pinson.
Last week, Total SE’s Board of Directors announced that it will submit its climate strategy to a vote of its shareholders at the end of May 2021 (4). The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) – which is behind the Say on Climate initiative aiming to encourage companies to submit their climate resolution to a shareholder vote – is not convinced.
Michael Hugman, director of climate finance at the CIFF, comments: “The Say on Climate initiative advocated by CIFF seeks to provide investors with an annual vote on climate transition plans, but what use is a climate plan which doesn’t benefit the climate? The answer is none – shareholders should vote accordingly at the Total’s AGM, and hold the board to account, voting against their re-election if necessary. The CA100+ net zero company benchmark provides a framework to assess these plans. The climate emergency leaves precious little time to force investee companies to truly decarbonize their business. We therefore encourage Total’s shareholders to make the most of the space in French law and file a resolution which requires the board of Total to have a strategy aligned with net zero by 2050, phasing out oil and gas with clear short-term targets.”
Faced with this diversionary strategy, Reclaim Finance and Greenpeace France have also denounced yet another attempt at greenwashing (5). “Shareholders should not be fooled by this umpteenth diversionary strategy. On the contrary, armed with the results of the CA100+ assessment, they must vote against Total’s climate strategy, sanction the Board of Directors by voting against their renewal and table their own climate resolution,” adds Lucie Pinson.
In a response to the oil major’s rebuttal, the two NGOs pointed to Total’s contradictory statements on its own climate strategy and its insufficiency against the scale of the climate crisis (6).