That was to be expected. After BP and Shell, comes the turn of TotalEnergies: the French giant of hydrocarbons is preparing to live an electric general assembly, this Friday morning. According to several videos posted on social networks, environmental activists are already present in front of the room where the meeting is to be held. A dozen of them who managed to sit on the floor in front of the entrance of the room was dislodged by the police at dawn on Friday.
🔴 Blocking of Total's AGM by environmental activists.
A hundred activists and intervention of the gendarmes. Tear gas. pic.twitter.com/lc1hzZuiXa
— Clément Lanot (@ClementLanot) May 26, 2023
The meeting comes at the end of a season of stormy AGMs, where activists have multiplied actions against large groups, accused of financing the expansion of hydrocarbon projects. All against a backdrop of staggering profits: together, majors BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and TotalEnergies posted more than $40 billion in profits this quarter, after a grandiose 2022.
Avoiding last year's scenario
In a sign of the tensions over the meeting scheduled for 10 am, TotalEnergies will ban shareholders and journalists from using their mobile phones, and will force them to leave some personal belongings at the entrance. Above all, the company wants to avoid the chaotic scenario of last year when NGO activists prevented shareholders from entering the AGM.
VIDEO. TotalEnergies headquarters sprayed with red and black paint by environmental activists
This year, a coalition of NGOs explicitly called for blocking the planned meeting at Salle Pleyel in Paris' beautiful neighborhoods. The authorities expect 200 to 400 activists to be present. They "absolutely want to prevent the holding of the GA", according to a police source.
"Total's AGM will not take place," the signatories 350.org, Alternatiba, Friends of the Earth, ANV-COP21, Attac, Greenpeace, Scientists in Rebellion and XR immediately warned in a forum at the end of April. "This general assembly plans to perpetuate the strategy of the oil company: more fossil projects and an unfair distribution of superprofits that fuels climate and social injustice," they denounce.
Among the hot topics, the approximately 1.5 million individual shareholders, present or online, are called to vote on a consultative resolution from the activist shareholder organization Follow This, which mainly tackles indirect CO2 emissions. 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.
A coalition of 17 investors - including La Banque PostaleAM, Edmond de Rothschild AM and La Financière de l'Echiquier, which own nearly 1.5% of TotalEnergies - is asking 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., The group recommends voting against, judging the resolution "contrary to the interests" of TotalEnergies, "its shareholders and its customers".
CEO salary hike on the agenda
The major will nevertheless highlight 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, from its operations and those related to the energy it consumes (so-called "scope 1 and 2" perimeters).
Submitted for the third year to shareholder approval, it includes a strengthening of commitments, such as not exceeding 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 policy in low-carbon energies, intending to devote a third of its investments to it and reach 100 GW of renewable electricity capacity by 2030.
" READ ALSO Who is Patrick Pouyanné, the inevitable boss of TotalEnergies at the heart of the crisis?
"It is the revenues from hydrocarbons that allow us to invest massively and develop renewables," CEO Patrick Pouyanné said Wednesday in an interview with Challenges magazine. The group is present in many liquefied natural gas and oil projects in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Papua and Uganda, with the controversial Eacop heated pipeline project becoming a media symbol of the anti-oil struggle.
"We did not know how to anticipate," conceded to Challenges, Patrick Pouyanné, about this controversy, which is added to many others for the group, criticized for its record profit of $ 20.5 billion (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 AGM.