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French oil giant sets 2050 net zero emissions target

Future concept illustration with transition from year 2020 to 2050 and bold arrow showing up to 2050 year. 3d illustration.

Total has declared it will aim for a net zero emissions target by 2050, making it another win by investor initiative Climate Action 100+ (CA100+).

In April, shortly before the oil price spiralled to sub-zero due to a simultaneous supply and demand shock, Shell unveiled its net zero plans following engagement with CA100+.

All of Europe’s oil and gas majors are now working towards achieving net zero ambitions, CA100+ said.

Helena Viñes Fiestas, global head of stewardship and policy at BNP Paribas Asset Management, which led the engagement together with Eos at Federated Hermes, commented: “This agreement is one of the most significant achievements in the oil and gas industry so far.

“The global energy system is under significant structural pressure from long-term forces, such as decarbonisation and the deflationary impact of renewables, and how companies respond to the challenge of climate change will be key in determining their competitiveness in the longer-term.”

Total announced, in a joint statement with CA100+, its ambition to achieve net zero emissions across its operations and products by 2050, including direct and indirect emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3).

Total’s statement

Its target entails:
– A 60% or more reduction in the average carbon intensity of global energy products by its customers by 2050 (to less than 27.5 gCO2/MJ);
– Net zero emissions across the firm’s worldwide operations by 2050 or sooner (scope 1+2);
– Net zero across all its production and energy products used by its customers in Europe by 2050 or sooner (scope 1+2+3)
– Assessments of the firm’s oil and gas capex allocations to be consistent with the Paris Agreement goals; and
– A commitment to actively advocate policies that support the delivery of its own net zero emissions, as well as those of countries and other corporations.

Total’s targets will be reviewed at least every five years in tandem with policy changes and market and other developments linked to the energy transition.

Stephanie Pfeifer, a member of the CA100+ steering committee and chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, said: “There is still much more to be achieved, but with Europe’s oil majors now working to net zero ambitions, a new standard has been set for the rest of the sector.”

Bruce Duguid, head of stewardship at Eos at Federated Hermes, welcomed Total’s net zero ambition and said: “This significantly advances the company’s long-term commitments on climate change, complemented by the important commitment to assess all new capex for consistency with the Paris goals.”

More than 450 investors with $40trn (€36.8trn) in combined assets are members of CA100+, which seeks to ensure that the world’s largest emitting companies achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including scopes 1, 2 and 3, to achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

Elena Johansson

Senior Reporter

Part of the Bonhill Group.