Total, one of the largest energy companies in the world, on Friday obtained almost unanimous support from its shareholders for its long-term objectives in the fight against climate change.
Only a tiny minority rebelled against the French company’s plans at a shareholders meeting, saying they fell short of what was needed to tackle global warming.
The non-binding management resolution, which followed similar moves by energy peers Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell, garnered 91.88% support at the meeting.
Total’s commitments include achieving zero net emissions in its global operations by 2050, as well as for all of its customers in Europe.
The shareholders had recognized “a real and sincere process of transformation” and had supported “a daring and demanding strategy”, declared the chairman Patrick Pouyanne, who also obtained the approval of a renewal of his mandate at the head of the ‘business.
The NGOs were disappointed, having announced ahead of the meeting that they hoped that 15% of shareholders would challenge management on their objectives deemed too modest, just like other investors.
As the rally approached, asset management company Meeschaert AM had urged Total to refrain from any further oil and gas drilling, echoing the call made by the International Energy Agency to all energy giants.
Pouyanne rejected the call on Friday, saying “radical solutions are not the answer” and reminding his audience that “80% of our economy runs on fossil fuels”.
The Dutch fund ACTIAM meanwhile said that Total’s emissions strategy “is insufficient because it is still not known how it will achieve its targets given its current pace of fossil fuel production and investments which still exceed by significantly those in renewable energies ”.
At last year’s meeting, eleven investors put forward a motion for more ambitious climate goals – prompting Pouyanne to comment on “those who act like activists, not shareholders” – but still won nearly 17% in a vote at the time.
At Friday’s meeting, Total also won 99% support for a motion to change its name to TotalEnergies.
© 2021 AFP