The oil industry must be particularly vigilant concerning the risk of corruption, especially given the scale of investments and the number of countries in which operations are conducted. Preventing corruption is therefore a major challenge for the Group and all its employees.
As stated in its Code of Conduct, Total rejects corruption in all its forms. The Group adopts a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to corruption and adheres to the strictest integrity standards. This Code sets out the business principles and individual behavior that everyone must follow both in their day-to-day decision-making and in their relations with the Company’s stakeholders. In it, Total also reiterates its support for the OECD Guidelines and the Tenth Principle of the United Nations Global Compact, which urges businesses to work against corruption in all its forms.
The Group’s commitment is embodied by a robust anti-corruption compliance program, in accordance with the undertakings made by the Group to the United States authorities as part of the monitorship (2013-2016) and with the requirements of the French law of December 9, 2016 on transparency, the fight against corruption, modernization of the economy.
This program is implemented by a dedicated organization, which includes the Compliance and Social Responsibility department, and is deployed by a network of more than 360 Compliance Officers located in the countries where Total operates.
The pillars of this anti-corruption program are, among others, the following:
- processes to identify and evaluate corruption risks;
- a framework of internal standards, including a policy updated in 2016 that sets out the details of the program and more specific rules relating to representatives dealing with public officials, purchasing/sales, gifts/invitations, donations/sponsorships, acquisitions/divestments, joint ventures, conflicts of interest and Human Resources. Employees can refer to these standards to identify risky situations, carry out due diligence on third parties and put in place the appropriate mitigation measures;
- a strong and consistent commitment from General Management, expressed through significant communication activities such as the Business Ethics Day, held every year to mark the UN’s International Anti-Corruption Day and Human Rights Day in December; the third of these events was held in 2017. It is organized at the Group level and relayed locally by the subsidiaries to remind employees how to react appropriately and to encourage dialogue;
- activities designed to raise awareness among all employees: an initial e-learning course was rolled out in 2011 in 12 languages, followed by a more in-depth e-learning module in 2015. This module is accessible to all employees and mandatory for the targeted personal (approximately 30,000 employees);
- more targeted training activities intended for the most highly exposed positions and in-depth training for all Compliance Officers;
- the prohibition of “facilitation payments”;
- regular reporting processes to ensure the periodic feedback of information and incident feedback mechanisms, including a whistleblowing system for reporting any breach of the Code of Conduct (such as by emailing email@example.com);
- control mechanisms including site compliance reviews (six to eight per year) covering the Group’s various activities. These reviews are followed-up with regards to the recommendations made. In addition, the audits carried out by the Audit & Internal Control Division include, depending on their purpose, controls to check the implementation of the compliance processes;
- the application of suitable sanctions.
Following the monitorship, at the end of 2016 the United States authorities deemed that the Group had implemented an appropriate compliance program and fulfilled its commitments, thus bringing the proceedings against Total to a close. The Group is still committed and pursuing its efforts in a bid to ensure the sustainability, development and continuous improvement of the anti-corruption compliance program.
Total is committed to ensuring full transparency in respect of the revenue generated by its activities. The Group actively participates in intergovernmental initiatives and dialogue in this regard.
Promote transparency among host States
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) brings together players from civil society, host States and extractive companies. Its main purpose is to improve transparency in transactions between governments and companies from the extractive industry. Because it applies to all oil and mining players in EITI member countries, this initiative also contributes to strengthening the principles of accountability, fair competition and good governance.
Total joined the EITI as soon as it was launched at the 2002 Johannesburg Summit. The Group has always supported this initiative and continues to be actively involved, particularly with the presence of a Total representative on the Board of Directors.
Promoting the principles of transparency is part of a framework which is respectful of the sovereignty of the host countries: no lasting result can be achieved without the voluntary commitment of the States. In conjunction with the initiative's secretariat, the Group is committed to promoting the EITI principles among the host States in which it operates, and to assist them in the practical implementation of these principles.
Total supports governments efforts towards advancing transparency in accordance with the EITI framework, and advocates for the public disclose by countries of their Petroleum contracts and licenses.
To do this, Total strives to:
- Foster dialogue between the relevant Group officials and representatives of States, civil society and the EITI;
- Participate in the efforts of the EITI Board;
- Promote the EITI and its principles among the States in which it operates and, more generally, whenever it has the opportunity;
- Share resources and recommendations based on our experience.
The initiative is consistently recognised by the G8 (it became a focal point of the 2013 Lough Erne Summit) and the G20 also confirmed its support in this regard (Saint Petersburg in 2013).
Why support the EITI?
The EITI has the advantage of being a voluntary, win-win initiative.
For companies, a transparent approach should facilitate the emergence of stable economic and political conditions, guaranteeing the sustainability of their investments. This process contributes to improved relationships with our shareholders and greater confidence in the markets. It also allows for better risk management and relationships with local communities.
Conversely, the stabilization of economic conditions attracts foreign investors, contributes to sustainable development of the host State and reduces poverty. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank pay special attention to how transparent countries are, and as such encourage EITI membership.
Local communities benefit from a better understanding of how oil revenues are allocated.
Finally, civil society improves its links with investors and international organizations. The EITI promotes good governance which strengthens public institutions and raises civic awareness.
In addition to our commitment to the EITI, we report payments made by the Group's extractive companies to the governments, States and territories in which we operate. We detail the total amount and type of payment, by country, by project and by government in our annual reference document.
Total’s tax payments represent a substantial part of our group’s economic contribution to the countries in which the Group operates.
Total is mindful of its responsibility and is committed to paying its fair share of taxes to the host countries of its operations, in compliance with applicable laws and conventions and in accordance with our Code of Conduct.
Total’s intercompany transactions are thus based on arm’s length terms the Group’s tax strategy is aligned with its business strategy. The formation of affiliates worldwide is driven by business operations, as well as regulatory constraints and JV requirements. It is the Group’s long term commitment not to create affiliates in countries generally acknowledged as tax havens and to repatriate or liquidate existing affiliates, where feasible.
Total’s tax policy’s prime focus is certainty and sustainability in the long term. Total believes that the expected short term tax benefit derived from artificial or aggressive tax planning will often be outweighed by the reputational and future tax litigation risks inherent in such schemes.
The Group takes a responsible approach to the management and control of taxation issues, relying on well-documented and controlled processes to manage risk and ensure compliance with tax disclosure and filing obligations. The management of tax risks is fully integrated in the Group’s global risk governance process. As part of this process, the Group VP Tax regularly reports to the Audit Committee and the Group Risk Committee on Total’s global tax position, risk monitoring and associated improvement actions.
Total engages with a broad range of stakeholders, and especially with tax authorities, in a timely, transparent and professional manner which is the basis of a constructive and long term relationship.
As a permanent member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since its creation in 2002, Total fully supports initiatives for greater transparency and accountability. The Group encourages governments to ensure that the tax reporting obligations they will impose upon multinational groups are consistent, coordinated and proportionate.
Total publishes in its Registration Document an annual report covering the payments made by the Group’s extractive affiliates to governments and the full list of its consolidated entities, together with their countries of incorporation and of operations.