Today, the UK’s largest pension fund by membership has announced its intention to vote for a resolution at Total that would see the company reduce its absolute emissions in line with the Paris goals.

Nest, which has 9 million members, said it would support the shareholder resolution, filed last month by a group of institutional investors. It invests £12 million in the company.

ShareAction has been advocating support for this resolution, using this investor briefing.

Katharina Lindmeier, Responsible Investment Manager at Nest, said: “It’s crucial that organisations like Total are taking serious and tangible steps towards delivering on the Paris Agreement goals. As a fossil fuel company, they have a significant part to play in reducing global carbon emissions.

“That’s why we were pleased to see their recent ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050. It shows progress and as a long-term investor in the company, we’re committed to working with them on this key topic.

“But there’s always more a company can be doing. This shareholder resolution calls for what we believe are vital next steps for Total – a more ambitious Scope 3 target that goes beyond regions where governments have already committed to net zero emissions, and providing more information on how it’ll help customers achieve these reductions.

“Nest is a climate-conscious investor. Companies not fully transitioning to the low-carbon economy are exposing our members to greater risk. That’s why we believe that as economies recover from coronavirus, the recovery needs to be a green one.”

Jeanne Martin, campaign manager at ShareAction, said: “This is a great show of support from Nest, which we hope will encourage its peers to vote similarly. For all its difficulties, 2020 has seen unwavering and muscular investor action at fossil fuel companies and their financiers. Nearly 15% of shareholders supported plans at Shell this week to reduce carbon emissions, showing that fossil fuel companies with climate plans that are out of step with the urgency of the climate crisis will simply not cut it anymore. This could well be the case next week at Total, which recently missed a trick by limiting its net-zero ambition to regions that had already committed to net-zero, and failing to update its already weak 15% reduction by 2030 target.”

In response to the resolution filing, Total announced a new climate ambition to be net-zero by 2050, but only in regions which had also made this commitment. This was met with disappointment by campaigners and some investors, including Friends Provident Foundation.

Notes to editors:

  • For more information, please contact Beau O’Sullivan at beau.osullivan@shareaction.org or +447950 299 491