The CA100+ had already failed Total in its assessment of the climate performance of the largest emitters published in March (1). Since then, Total has marginally raised some of its targets, but today’s statement shows that this is not enough to convince (2).
On the contrary, shareholder confidence in Total’s ability to transform itself to withstand the risks of transition is set to erode even further now that the IEA has indicated the course to be followed: forgoing any investment in new oil and gas production projects. The CA100+ statement comes hours after Meeschaert followed the lead of Dutch SME and French OFI AM in announcing that it will vote against Total’s climate strategy (3).
“Total is suffering one setback after another. Its attempt to hide its fossil fuel expansion plans behind a well-honed communication strategy is falling apart at the seams. Investors are not fooled and this statement, hot on the heels of a disavowal of its climate strategy from one of the CA100+’s leaders, shows that the momentum building against its anti-climate plan” commented Lucie Pinson, founder and CEO of Reclaim Finance.
Pinson continues: “Meeschaert’s decision demonstrates that investors can continue shareholder dialogue while voting in line with their climate commitments. We call on other Total shareholders to follow the example of Meeschaert, PME and OFI AM and vote solely according to the recommendations of climate scientists and the IEA”.
Against the recommendations of the IEA, Total has no plans to abandon its numerous new oil and gas projects in line with the recommendations of climate scientists and the IEA. Quite the contrary. Total plans to increase its gas production by 30% between 2019 and 2030, and its projections indicate a 50% increase in its hydrocarbon production between 2015 and 2030. Finally, Total still plans to devote 80% of its capital expenditure to oil and gas in 2030,totally failing to align its capex with a 1.5°C trajectory.
Meeschaert and the 32 other investors are calling on Total, among other things, to review its investments in new oil and gas projects in light of the conclusions of the IEA’s net zero scenario, to specify its emission reduction targets in absolute rather than relative terms, and to commit to systematically consulting its shareholders on its climate strategy.
In a press release issued yesterday, Crédit Mutuel announced that it will abstain on resolution 14. While this choice demonstrates that Total’s “climate” strategy is not convincing, Reclaim Finance regrets the investor’s position. Faced with the climate emergency, we argue that shareholders cannot sit on the sidelines but must play an active role in the transformation of the largest emitters.