By Sarah White and Benjamin Mallet
PARIS (Reuters) – Oil and gas group Total on Friday garnered more than 90% support for its climate plan to gradually reduce its emissions, and shareholders also voted overwhelmingly in favor of its rebrand to TotalEnergies to show a change. towards renewable energies.
Some shareholders had campaigned to reject Total’s green goals as not being ambitious enough, echoing growing investor rebellions in the sector.
Lawsuits for oil companies to accelerate the shift from fossil fuels reached a peak this week when a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to sharply increase greenhouse gas emission cuts and Exxon Mobil took on an activist investor over its track record. on climate change.
Total’s climate strategy, which sets the goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, was supported by 91.88% of shareholders who voted at its annual meeting.
“This result is the best response for those who predicted, and in some cases even expected, an investor rebellion against the company, and it responds to those who act more like activists than shareholders,” said President and CEO Patrick Pouyanne.
The rebranding, which takes effect immediately, was supported by 99.88% of the votes.
Total is investing in renewable energy with solar or wind energy projects. It seeks to earn revenue from electricity production and reduce its dependence on petroleum products, with staggered targets until 2030, and reflects the moves of its rivals to try to reduce emissions.
Pouyanne said he wants Total to be a “major green energy company,” but stressed that a more radical change would not be appropriate as it needs to finance its transition with fossil fuel revenues.
“Without new oil projects, global oil production will naturally decline by 4-5% each year,” Pouyanne said at the shareholders meeting, while oil demand is projected to start to decline from 2030. .
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Sarah White in Paris; additional reporting by Simon Jessop in London. Edited in Spanish by Javier Leira)