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Total’s climate ambition is poor, investors must support our shareholder resolution

In April, we were delighted to co-file Friends Provident Foundation's first ever shareholder resolution.

We joined fellow members of Shareholders for Change as the only UK co-filer of a resolution calling on oil company Total to adopt a low carbon transition plan with medium and long-term targets aligned with the Paris climate agreement and covering absolute greenhouse gas emissions.

In response, Total has published a new climate ambition.

Whilst a net-zero target for 2050 is welcome, this new ambition is insufficient in a number of areas. The interim targets apply only to the carbon intensity of products, not the company’s overall emissions, and they kick the difficult decisions into the long-grass with an intensity reduction target of just 15% by 2030. Total is also only committing to reduce absolute emissions, i.e. including emissions from the combustion of their products (circa 85% of emissions), in Europe. This urgently needs changing to include Total’s global emissions.

As things stand, Total does not have a transition plan with medium and long-term targets aligned with the Paris climate agreement and covering absolute emissions, as requested by our shareholder resolution.

Whilst progress should be applauded it is disappointing to see uncritical joint statements from Total and investors that ignore these obvious and significant flaws. Investors need to be wise to Total’s attempt to undermine support for our resolution at the forthcoming AGM and, if vocal commitments to ESG and addressing climate change are to be believed, they must vote in support as directed by the climate science.

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