In the resolution, the investors said that the French energy giant’s 2030 emissions targets are not aligned with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to below 1.5C.
Mark van Ball, founder of investor group Follow This, told the FT that the environmental strategy “is totally up to the board” at TotalEnergies. However, if targets set out in the Paris agreement are to be met, he said that the company “needs to offer renewable energy at scale”.
“We’re dealing with companies that don’t want to change. Of course, they want to invest a bit in renewable energy, but the bulk is in fossil fuels, and they want to remain oil and gas companies as long as possible,” he added.
The motion was brought ahead of TotalEnergies’ shareholder meeting set for 26 May. Follow This filed the motion along with other investors, together holding approximately 1% of the company’s capital. It echoes similar resolutions filed by Follow This to BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Chevron in December, calling on the four oil and gas giants to cut emissions more aggressively this decade.
Scope 3 emissions in the spotlight
TotalEnergies has forecast that its Scope 3 emissions would stand at less than 400 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030. However, the company’s emissions stood at 389 million tonnes last year, meaning that pollution from its activities could stay the same until the end of the decade.
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The group has defended these numbers, suggesting that it will maintain these levels will while production increases. It also said that it is pivoting towards gas and away from coal, reducing but not eliminating emissions. The company has a goal to reduce Scope 3 emissions from its petrol by 30% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.
TotalEnergies increased its yearly investment budget in renewable energy projects to more than $5bn for this year, compared to just over $4bn in 2022. This runs parallel to the $16bn-$18bn of investment going towards fossil fuels.
Follow This attempted last year to put forward a binding climate resolution to TotalEnergies, which was blocked by the company. In 2020 a motion led by French asset manager Meeschaert that pressed Total to do more to reduce its emissions won the support of 17% of investors.
The company was one of many oil and gas giants to post record profits for 2022 off the back of the energy crisis. Last month, it reported an adjusted net profit of $36.2bn for 2022, more than double that of 2021, which stood at $18bn.