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TOTAL and its ‘Aiming for A’ commitment

The Paris climate agreement signed on 12 December 2015 during the climate conference (COP21), in addition to transparent GHG reduction objectives, stipulates maintaining global warming below 2°C compared with pre-industrial levels, and achieving carbon neutrality, without however imposing any carbon pricing or applying thresholds to the extraction of fossil fuels, although this is the number one cause of GHG emissions (65% of total worldwide emissions).  Consequently, the extractive industries will be forced to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Shareholders and asset managers wish to ensure that the financial risks they may incur as investors due to the possibility of environmentally hazardous accidents, as well as their commitment to participating in the transition to a lower carbon economy, will be effectively taken into account by companies. All the more so as the French energy transition act (Law no. 2015-992 of 17 August 2015) requires that investors provide information on the integration of criteria relating to compliance with environmental standards into their investment policies.
In France, since the "Grenelle II" act of 12 July 2010 expressing the national commitment to the environment, the legislation requires that the board of directors submit a report to the Annual General Meeting that "also includes information on how the company takes into account the social and environmental consequences of its activity, as well as its societal commitments to sustainable development" (art. L225-102-1 of the French Commercial code).
Many companies from the raw material extraction or fossil energy production industry have been under scrutiny from investors, or have suffered a withdrawal of investment, if not the end of financial backing which, combined with the decline in commodity prices, is resulting in bankruptcy for some.
For listed companies, the CDP has implemented a rating out of 100, with a scale of A to E. The score focuses on reporting quality (number) and the reduction in the emissions (letter) generated by the activity (target: -4% p.a.) as well as the organisation and governance put in place to achieve these targets and the underlying strategy.
This approach means that the investors can compare companies involved in fossil energy. In 2015, a group of shareholders submitted "Aiming for A" resolutions to the Shell and BP general assemblies, which were approved by more than 95% of the shareholders, thanks to the support of the boards of directors of both oil companies. 

In 2016 PhiTrust, in conjunction with institutional shareholders, put together a similar resolution project, which was subsequently presented to the management of Total (CDP rating: 95C). The oil company's board of directors subsequently decided to publish the information requested by the investors to clarify its global warming control strategy. PhiTrust therefore decided not to include its resolution in the agenda of the 2016 annual general meeting.




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