Tensions Rising Following TotalEnergies, Shell Climate Votes

The approval of French oil and gas company TotalEnergies’ climate plan today has sparked alarm in the ESG community, with some suggesting it is not compatible with a 1.5°C pathway. The vote, which saw nearly 89% of shareholders approving the strategy, was held online and behind-closed-doors. Lucie Pinson, Director of Reclaim Finance, said: “This massive approval of TotalEnergies’ so-called ‘climate’ plan definitively buries the credibility of the Say on Climate initiative. This concept has unfortunately been misused and now at the service of the greenwashing strategy of companies, with the complicity of a majority of investors.” The result confirms that major shareholders, such as the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, didn’t oppose the plan. Yesterday, the Extinction Rebellion disrupted Shell’s AGM by three hours, and there was a clear fall in shareholder confidence, with 80% in favour of its climate strategy, compared to 89% in 2021. Caroline Dennett, now a former Senior Safety Consultant at Shell, resigned earlier this week. She said: “I can no longer work for a company that ignores all the alarms and dismisses the risks of climate change and ecological collapse […] Because, contrary to Shell’s public expressions around ‘net zero’, they are not winding down on oil and gas, but planning to explore and extract much more.”  

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