After the frost, the open cellars come to warm the vines

After the frost, the open cellars come to warm the vines
After the frost, the open cellars come to warm the vines

TotalEnergies is preparing for a new tense general meeting, which climate protesters could well see disrupted on Friday when shareholders must vote on the reappointment of CEO Patrick Pouyanné.

For the first time in two decades, the world’s fourth largest oil major and largest French company by profit, which is celebrating its centenary this year, will hold its annual high mass at home, in its 48-story tower in La Défense, rather than in a room in the middle of Paris.

Objective: to avoid “immobilizing a district of Paris”, explains the group, as happened during a tumultuous 2023 edition, marked by clashes between demonstrators and police officers around the room hosting the event.

A year later, the pressure has not subsided. In the streets or in court, the group remains under fire from climate defenders, who accuse it of worsening global warming and harming biodiversity and human rights, due to its activities in the gas and oil.

Organizations have explicitly called for shaking up the AG. Among them, the Extinction Rebellion movement which demands “the abandonment” of flagship projects in Uganda/Tanzania, Mozambique and Papua New Guinea, and, recommendation of the International Energy Agency, “the cessation of any investment in new fossil projects”. Between “300 and 600” demonstrators are expected, according to a police Source.

“A big device” is planned, specified the Source, who expects, like last year, confrontations between environmentalists and shareholders.

Faced with the “risk” of disturbances to public order, the Paris police prefect issued an order prohibiting undeclared demonstrations in an area around the Dome Tower.

On the agenda, shareholders, present or online, will be asked to vote on TotalEnergies’ climate strategy, with certain investors also calling for a more ambitious energy transition. On Tuesday, 22% of Shell shareholders rejected its climate plan, a relatively high proportion.

Pouyanné looks towards New York

Last year, at TotalEnergies, a purely consultative resolution from activist shareholders even received 30.4% of the votes. It asked the company to align its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets with the 2015 Paris Agreement, to limit global warming to +1.5°C compared to the pre -industrial (the world is already at around 1.2°C).

This time, no consultative resolution is expected.

A coalition of shareholders claiming 0.9% of the capital demanded in vain, even before the courts, a non-binding resolution aimed at “putting an end to the accumulation of the functions of president and general manager” occupied by Patrick Pouyanné, to keep him in office. only position of general manager.

An unthinkable choice for the board of directors, attached to the “strategic stability” of the company which earned $21.4 billion in profits in 2023, after $20.5 billion in 2022, and will propose to shareholders to reappoint the CEO for a fourth term.

The fiery leader at the helm of the company for 10 years will chair this meeting against a backdrop of controversy after his statements on a possible relocation of the main listing of the group from Paris to the New York Stock Exchange. Comments which triggered the wrath of the political class, from Bruno Le Maire to Emmanuel Macron.

As if to appease the critics, he mentioned Thursday in Le Figaro a “translation error”: he did not want to talk about a main listing on Wall Street but about a transformation into classic shares of securities already traded in a form reserved for foreign companies.

Mr. Pouyanné highlights the fact that Americans buy more shares than Europeans, more constrained by sustainable investment rules.

The CEO repeats, TotalEnergies is “the oil group most involved in the energy transition”. A third of its investments are devoted to low-carbon energies, including 95% renewable electricity.

But in September, the think tank Carbon Tracker estimated that “only” the Italian oil company Eni had emissions reduction targets “potentially” aligned with the Paris agreement. TotalEnergies came second before Repsol and BP, far ahead of the Saudi Aramco and the American ExxonMobil.

This article was automatically published. Sources: ats / awp / afp

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