Investors have today filed a shareholder resolution at a French oil major, calling on the company to set absolute emissions reduction targets that are aligned with the Paris climate goals and covering all types of emissions.

Total SA is the subject of a shareholder resolution led by French asset manager Meeschaert and co-filed by 10 other investors representing 1.35% of Total’s capital. The resolution will be on the ballot of the company’s AGM on 29 May.

The resolution, which is the first climate change resolution ever to be filed at a French company, asks Total to set Paris-aligned emissions reduction targets for all its products and operations (otherwise known as scopes 1-3). The targets must be absolute as opposed to just based on the carbon intensity of the products. It is also the first resolution to be filed at an oil major to require such targets.

Responding to this, Jeanne Martin, campaign manager at ShareAction, says: “The investors who have filed the resolution at Total today should be applauded. Their resolution, which asks for absolute emissions reduction targets aligned with the Paris goals, is a clear sign that half-baked commitments by companies – in the form of ridiculously meagre intensity targets – won’t cut it anymore. It is also indicative of a wider recognition in the investment community that fossil fuels will need to stay in the ground for the world to meet the Paris climate goals. All eyes are now on Total’s shareholders and how they will respond to this landmark resolution.”

Notes for editors:

  • For more information, please contact Jeanne Martin directly on Jeanne.martin@shareaction.org or +447922 914 156
  • The original press release can be found here.
  • Full list of investor co-filers: Actiam, Candriam, Crédit Mutuel Asset Management et les Assurances du Crédit Mutuel, Ecofi Investissements, Friends Provident Foundation, Fédéral Finance Gestion, La Banque Postale Asset Management, Meeschaert AM, Sycomore Asset Management
  • The targets called for in the resolution must be absolute as opposed to just based on the carbon intensity of the products, which are relative to another measure, for example revenue. The former means total emissions cannot increase which could be possible under the latter targets.
  • Carbon Tracker recently demonstrated that 67% of Total’s unsanctioned projects for the period 2019-2030 are outside of the IEA’s below-two-degrees scenario. It found that none of the oil majors had business models aligned with the Paris climate goals. The Transition Pathway Initiative, while using a different method to Carbon Tracker’s, also found that Total’s emissions trajectory was not aligned with a 2C trajectory, let alone a 1.5C one. Total has an ambition to reduce the carbon intensity of its products by 15% between 2015 and 2030. Beyond 2030, Total’s ambition is to reduce the carbon intensity of its products by 25 to 40% by 2040. However, this will “[depend] on developments in technology and public incentive policies.” Indeed, Total refuses to take responsibility for its Scope 3 emissions, which the CEO says “they are not in control [of].”