May 6, 2020 / 1:11 PM / 24 days ago

Investors call on Total to expand net zero climate target

PARIS (Reuters) - Investors representing around 1.35% of Total’s share capital welcomed its new climate change targets on Wednesday, but will press on with a resolution requiring it to do more.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French oil giant Total is pictured at a petrol station in Laplume, France January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

Total said on Tuesday it planned to reach net zero emissions from its operations and its energy products sold to customers in Europe by 2050 or sooner.

Nevertheless, the group of 11 shareholders, led by French fund manager Meeschaert, will present a resolution at Total’s annual general meeting on May 29 to strengthen its commitment to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The investors said they wanted Total to expand its net zero emissions target on its energy products to customers globally, not just for Europe, and called for a detailed plan of action.

Their resolution had already received some positive response, the shareholders said, and Total had clarified some of its objectives on reaching carbon neutrality.

“However, the climate challenge has no borders,” the investors said in a statement.

“This first step will therefore need to be reinforced by an action plan that meets concrete and exhaustive objectives, including the group’s global greenhouse gas emissions, particularly outside Europe,” it added.

Total’s Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanne said on Tuesday that the company’s management had a debate over the so-called global Scope 3 target, but decided it was premature.

While several European states have announced policies and ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2050, it was not the case for the rest of the world, Pouyanne told analysts.

“They (rest of the world) may take more time,” Pouyanne said, adding that Total will commit to a wider target when more regions enact the same policies and regulations as Europe.

For now, Total plans to cut the average carbon intensity of its products sold to clients worldwide by around 60% by 2050. It had previously planned to reduce its global emissions by 15% by 2030, and by 40% by 2040.

Reporting by Bate Felix and Leigh Thomas, Editing by Sarah White and Alexander Smith

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