Supporting companies in transition?
Amundi is one of the leading European investors in fossil fuels. It holds over $19 billion in 12 of the largest oil and gas companies. These include Gazprom, ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies, of which it is the second largest shareholder. In other words, Amundi invests in companies that are far from being green.
But Amundi prides itself on using its influence as a shareholder to accelerate their transition. At first glance, Amundi seems to be an active shareholder, as shown by its support for ESG resolutions and its filing of climate resolutions, as it did recently in Japan and Switzerland.
However, a closer analysis of its voting and engagement strategy reveals a different reality. Not only does Amundi not ask companies to stop developing new oil and gas projects – a sine qua non condition to limit global warming to 1.5°C – but worse, Amundi approved the flawed “climate” plans presented by Shell and TotalEnergies last year. As a result, Amundi tacitly supports projects like EACOP, TotalEnergies’ giant oil pipeline across Uganda and Tanzania, linked to massive climate and environmental risks and to heavy human rights violations.
Coal: Amundi’s passivity makes it guilty
The same goes for coal, in which Amundi still holds more than $4 billion, notably because of its passive management. While it had announced that it would vote against companies developing new projects in this sector, Amundi nevertheless massively supported them at the 2021 AGMs, for example by validating Glencore’s false climate plan, which wishes to exploit its coal mines “until the end of their lifespan”, i.e. much longer than science recommends.
Amundi’s climate tragicomedy unfolds in three acts. Act 1: the investor adopts an ambitious coal policy in 2019. Act 2: it betrays its promise by failing to apply it to a large portion of its “passive” funds, a growing problem following Amundi’s recent takeover of Lyxor. Act 3: to make up for this, Amundi claims to be in dialogue with companies in the sector and to oppose them at their AGMs, but our analysis shows this is not the case.
Finally the turning point?
Amundi can start correcting the situation today. During the annual general meetings, many companies are asking their shareholders for their opinion on their climate plan: among them, 5 of the 7 European oil majors. However, a coalition of investors of which Amundi is a member has revealed that none of them has a climate plan that is compatible with the climate emergency. Common sense would therefore imply that Amundi vote against this greenwashing. This would be all the more logical as it recently took a public position in favour of the inclusion of demanding criteria in companies’ climate plans, criteria that are not found in the documents presented by TotalEnergies or Shell.
At its annual general meeting on May 18th, Amundi will also undertake this exercise and consult its shareholders on its own climate strategy. There is no suspense behind this vote since Crédit Agricole owns 70% of Amundi and will validate its strategy, however unambitious it may be. But for minority shareholders aware of the climate crisis, the roadmap is clear: vote against this “climate” strategy as long as Amundi does not strongly sanction companies developing new fossil projects.