TotalEnergies is preparing for a general meeting under high tension
After BP and Shell, comes the turn of TotalEnergies: the French hydrocarbon giant is preparing for an electric general meeting on Friday morning, targeted by a coalition of associations which threatens to block it, but also by some of its shareholders in disagreement with its climate policy.
The meeting comes at the end of a stormy GA season, where activists have stepped up actions against large groups, such as competitors Shell and BP or Barclays bank, accused of financing the expansion of hydrocarbon projects .
All against a backdrop of staggering profits: together, the majors BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and TotalEnergies are posting more than 40 billion dollars in profits this quarter, after a grandiose year 2022.
Sign of the tensions on the meeting scheduled for 10:00 am, TotalEnergies will prohibit shareholders and journalists from using their mobile phones, and will force them to leave certain personal effects at the entrance.
TotalEnergies especially wants to avoid the chaotic scenario of last year when NGO activists prevented shareholders from entering the AG.
This year, a coalition of NGOs explicitly calls for blocking the meeting planned Salle Pleyel, in the beautiful districts of Paris.
The authorities expect the presence of 200 to 400 activists. They “absolutely want to prevent the holding of the GA”, according to a police source.
“Total’s GA will not take place”, immediately warned in a forum at the end of April the signatories 350.org, Alternatiba, Friends of the Earth, ANV-COP21, Attac, Greenpeace, Scientists in Rebellion and XR. “This general meeting plans to perpetuate the oil company’s strategy: ever more fossil projects and an unfair distribution of superprofits which fuels climatic and social injustice”, they denounce.
– 10% increase in the CEO’s salary in sight –
Among the hot topics, the nearly 1.5 million individual shareholders, present or online, are called to vote on an advisory resolution from the activist shareholder organization Follow This, which mainly attacks indirect emissions of CO2.
In other words, those related to the use of oil by its customers in cars or for heating (scope 3 in carbon accounting), the equivalent of 85% of its carbon footprint.
The organization asks it to align its reduction targets with the 2015 Paris Agreement, in order to limit global warming to +1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era.
Among this coalition of 17 investors who hold almost 1.5% of TotalEnergies are La banque PostaleAM, Edmond de Rotschild AM and La Financière de l’Echiquier.
The group recommends voting against, judging the resolution “contrary to the interests” of TotalEnergies, “of its shareholders and its customers”.
The major will nevertheless promote its efforts for the climate and calls on its shareholders to “vote in favor” of its own climate resolution.
This official strategy focuses mainly on its direct emissions, resulting from its operations and those linked to the energy it consumes (scopes known as “scope 1 and 2”).
Submitted for the third year to the approval of the shareholders, it includes a reinforcement of the commitments, such as not to exceed 38 MT of CO2 emissions in 2025 compared to 2015.
Even if the group does not plan to drastically reduce its direct emissions in the decade, it has an ambitious low-carbon energy policy, intending to devote a third of its investments to it and reach 100 GW of renewable electricity capacity by 2030.
“It is the revenues from hydrocarbons that allow us to invest massively and develop renewables,” CEO Patrick Pouyanné argued on Wednesday in an interview with Challenges magazine.
The group is present in numerous liquefied natural gas and oil projects, in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Papua and Uganda, with the controversial Eacop heated pipeline project which has become a media symbol of the fight against oil.
“We were unable to anticipate”, conceded to Challenges, Mr. Pouyanné, about this controversy, which adds to many others for the group, criticized for its record profit of 20.5 billion dollars (19 .12 billion euros) in 2022, its taxes in France or the salary of the CEO.
A 10% increase in his remuneration for 2023 is also on the agenda of the GA.