Today 16.8% of shareholders supported a resolution at Total, the 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.

In response, Jeanne Martin, campaign manager at ShareAction, said: “A large number of investors are clearly unconvinced by Total’s new climate commitments, which are verging on greenwashing. Today’s voting result on France’s first climate resolution constitutes a significant revolt against the company, which attempted to counter this resolution by announcing an ambition that fails to address its ever increasing investments in fossil fuels. We call on Total to listen to its shareholders and commit to publishing targets to reduce absolute emissions by the end of the year.

Colin Baines, Investment Engagement Manager at Friends Provident Foundation, said: “This is a very significant shareholder rebellion, which we are pleased to have helped facilitate along with other members of the European network Shareholders for Change. This is especially true given Total’s announcement of a ‘net-zero’ ambition by 2050, which whilst tokenistic will still have influenced some investor votes. Total now needs to get real and develop a transition plan with interim targets aligned with the Paris climate agreement.”

Commenting on CEO Patrick Pouyanné’s response to her AGM question, Martin said:  “In response to our AGM question on Total’s executive remuneration policy, it was disappointing to hear CEO Patrick Pouyanné deny to his shareholders that his compensation package included any criteria that incentivised the company to grow its fossil fuel business. Pouyanné’s annual bonus includes a 15% metric to steer Total’s hydrocarbon strategy and meet production and reserves targets, which reflects Total’s pre-covid capex plans to expand its fossil fuel activities. Despite Pouyanné’s claims at the AGM today, it is clear that Total’s pay policy remains geared towards business-as-usual to the detriment of its climate commitments.”

Notes to editors:

  • For more information, please contact Beau O’Sullivan at beau.osullivan@shareaction.org or +447950 299 491
  • Yo can see the response from Meeschaert, the lead co-filer of the resolution, here (French only).
  • You can watch a webcast of the AGM here.