The HSE division and the HSE departments within the Group’s entities seek to ensure that both applicable local regulations and internal minimum requirements are being met. The Group steering bodies, led by the HSE division, have a threefold task:


  • monitoring Total’s environmental performance, which is reviewed annually by the Executive Committee, for which multiannual improvement targets are set;
  • handling, in conjunction with the business segments, the various environment-related subjects under their responsibility;
  • and promoting the internal standards to be applied by the Group’s operational entities as set out in the Safety Health Environment Quality Charter.

The Group defined in early 2016 a new set of coherent environmental targets aligned with the 2010-2020 period:

  • continue its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly through:

1. an 80% reduction of routine flaring1 with the aim to eliminate it by 2030,

2. and an average 1% improvement per year in the energy efficiency of the Group’s operated facilities;

  • decrease SO2 air emissions by 50%;
  • and maintain hydrocarbon content of water discharges below 30 mg/l for offshore sites and below 15 mg/l for onshore and coastal sites.


Total’s performance in relation to these targets is detailed in the following sections.


In addition, the Group:

  • develops biodiversity action plans for production sites located in protected areas2;
  • does not conduct oil and gas exploration or production operations at natural sites included on the UNESCO World Heritage List3 or in oil fields under sea ice in polar areas;
  • and reclaims more than half of its waste and intends to continue its efforts in this area.


Total has a goal of progressively lowering the carbon intensity of its energy mix.


The environment management systems on Total’s major sites are ISO 14001 certified: 100% of the 69 production sites emitting more than 10 kt of GHG per year (excluding start-ups or newly acquired sites, which have two years to be certified) are ISO 14001 certified. Overall, at year-end 2016, 279 sites had ISO 14001 certification.


The CLOV site in Angola, which started up in 2015, was ISO 14001 certified in 2016. Group rules require certification to be obtained within two years of start-up of operations; accordingly, the Laggan-Tormore (United Kingdom) and Incahuasi (Bolivia) sites, where operations started in 2016, are expected to be certified in 2017.


The environmental risks and impacts of any planned investment, disposal or acquisition subject to Executive Committee approval are assessed and reviewed before the final decision is made.


Total seeks to ensure that all employees share its environmental protection requirements. Employees receive training in the required skills. Total also raises employee awareness through internal communication campaigns (e.g., in-house magazines, intranet, posters) and provides annual information about the Group’s environmental performance.


Training courses are organized for managers and senior executives. In 2016, 48 training sessions were attended by more than 800 participants in 1,899 training days across 11 countries. Three HSE training courses are made available to the operational entities: “HSE for Managers”, “HSE Implementation” and “HSE Leadership for Group Senior Executives”. The training session “HSE for Managers” is aimed at senior managers and operational or functional managers who are currently or will in the future be responsible for one of the Group’s operational entities (five sessions were held in 2016 with 253 participants). “HSE Implementation” sessions are aimed at employees whose job is specifically to handle one or more HSE or operational areas within an operational entity (one session was held in 2016 with 10 participants). This offer completes an existing course for the same target population provided by the Group’s business segments. In addition, the “HSE Leadership for Group Senior Executives” course focusing on management styles has been organized since 2012. Since 2012, close to 260 senior executives have taken part in this program.





The Group has management structures and systems that present similar requirements and expectations across all the entities. Total strives to minimize the potential impacts of its operations on people, the environment and property through a major risk management policy. This policy draws on a shared approach that includes, on the one hand, risk identification and analysis, and on the other hand, the management of these risks.


This structured approach applies to all of the Group’s operated businesses exposed to major risks. In addition to its drilling and pipeline transport operations, the Group has 222 sites and operating zones corresponding to:

  • the Seveso classified industrial sites (upper and lower threshold) and their equivalents (excluding Exploration & Production) outside the EU;
  • and all the offshore and onshore operating activities in Exploration & Production.


This approach first sets out an analysis of the risks related to these industrial operations based on incident scenarios for which the probability of occurrence and the severity of the consequences are assessed.


Second, based on these parameters, a prioritization matrix is used to determine whether further measures are needed in addition to compliance with the Group’s standards and local regulations. These mainly include preventive measures but can also include mitigation measures.


The management of major risks also hinges on:

  • staff training and raising awareness;
  • a coherent event reporting and indicators system;
  • systematic, structured event analysis, particularly to learn lessons in terms of design and operation;
  • and regularly tested contingency plans and measures.


In terms of monitoring indicators, the Group reports the number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 events as defined by the API and the IOGP. A significant reduction in the number of losses of primary containment was observed in comparison to 2015. In addition to the 38 Tier 1 operational events indicated in the table below, the Group recorded one other Tier 1 event due to sabotage or theft in 2016.


Loss of primary containment 2016 2015 2014
Loss of primary containment (Tier 1)(a) 38 51 39
Loss of primary containment (Tier 2)(a) 101 111 129



In accordance with industry best practices, Total also monitors accidental liquid hydrocarbon spills of more than one barrel. Spills that exceed a predetermined severity threshold (in terms of volume spilled, toxicity of the product in question or sensitivity of the natural environment affected) are reviewed on a monthly basis and annual statistics are sent to the Group Performance Management Committee. All accidental spills are followed by corrective actions aimed at returning the environment to its original state as quickly as possible.


Accidental hydrocarbon spills(a) 2016 2015 2014
Number of hydrocarbon spills 73 128 129
Total volume of hydrocarbon spills (thousands of m³) 0,9 1,4 1,3



In addition, the Group has set up a crisis management process with a dedicated organization and a crisis management center at the head office to enable the management of two simultaneous crises. As part of this process, Total regularly trains in crisis management on the basis of risk scenarios identified through analyses. In particular, the Group has response plans and procedures in place in the event of a hydrocarbon leak or spill. For accidental spills that reach the surface, oil spill contingency plans are regularly reviewed and tested during exercises. These plans are specific to each company or site and are adapted to their structure, activities and environment while complying with Group recommendations.


Oil spill preparedness 2016 2015 2014
Number of sites whose risk analysis identified at least one scenario of major accidental pollution to surface water 141 167 155
Proportion of those sites with an operational oil spill contingency plan 99% 98% 90%
Proportion of those sites that have performed at least one oil spill response exercise during the year 89%(a) 98% 82%



A Plan to Mobilize Resources Against Pollution (Parapol) is available to the Group’s companies, which also have assistance agreements with the main third-party bodies specializing in hydrocarbons spill management.


Subsea capping and subsea containment equipment has been installed at different points of the world (South Africa, Brazil, Singapore and Norway) since 2014 in order to provide solutions that can be deployed rapidly in the event of oil or gas eruptions in deep offshore drilling operations. This equipment was developed by a group of nine oil companies, including Total, and is managed by Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL), a cooperative dedicated to the response to marine pollution by hydrocarbons.


Total has also designed and developed its own “Subsea Emergency Response System” to stop potential eruptions in drilling or production operations as quickly as possible. Equipment has been in place in Angola since 2015, and the in the Republic of Congo since 2016, potentially covering the entire Gulf of Guinea region.


With regard to shipping, the Group has an internal policy setting out the rules for selecting vessels. These rules are based on the recommendations of the Oil Company International Marine Forum (OCIMF), an industry association consisting of the main global oil companies that promotes best practices in oil shipping, and on its Ship Inspection Report (SIRE) Program. Total does not charter any single-hulled vessels for shipping hydrocarbons and the average age of the fleet chartered on time by Total’s Shipping division is approximately six years.





Total implements an active policy of avoiding, reducing, managing and monitoring the environmental footprint of its operations. As part of this policy, emissions are identified and quantified by environment (water, air and soil) so that appropriate measures can be taken to better control them.


Water, air

The Group’s operations generate emissions into the atmosphere from combustion plants and the various conversion processes and discharges into wastewater. In addition to complying with applicable legislation, the Group’s companies actively pursue a policy aimed at reducing emissions. Sites use various reduction systems that include organizational measures (such as using predictive models to control peaks in SO2 emissions based on weather forecast data and the improvement of combustion processes management, etc.) and technical measures (wastewater treatment plants, using low NOx burners and electrostatic dedusters, etc.).



Between 2013 and 2016, the Refining & Chemicals business segment partnered with Ondeo Industrial Solutions (Suez group) in the ambitious E4Water European project. Seven pilot research projects were conducted at Total’s petrochemicals plant at the Normandy platform. A €1.2 million budget was allocated to test three water treatment processes (wastewater from the site’s water treatment plant, cooling water and cooling blowdown). Pertinent technologies were identified to reduce pollutants and water consumption. These technologies could be installed, where necessary, to reduce the water footprint of facilities.


Chronic emissions into the atmosphere (excluding GHG) 2016 2015 2014
SO2 emissions (kt) 49 59 65
NOx emissions (kt) 75 82 93


In 2010, SO2 emissions totaled 99 kt, and the target for 2020 is to remain below 49.5 kt, a level reached in 2016.


Discharged water quality(a) 2016 2015 2014
Hydrocarbon content of offshore water discharges in mg/l 17,2 19,4 19,3
% of sites that meet the target for the quality of offshore discharges (30 mg/l) 100%(b) 100%(b) 100%(b)
Hydrocarbon content of onshore water discharges in mg/l 3,2 3,7 3,3
% of sites that meet the target for the quality of onshore discharges (15 mg/l) 100% 97% 98%



The improvement in the quality of onshore water discharges in 2016 is linked to significant investments on the produced water treatment plant at Djeno Terminal in the Republic of the Congo.



The risks of soil pollution related to Total’s operations come mainly from accidental spills and waste storage.


The Group’s approach to preventing and controlling these types of pollution is based on four cornerstones:

  • preventing leaks, by implementing industry best practices in engineering, operations and transport;
  • carrying out maintenance at appropriate intervals to minimize the risk of leaks;
  • overall monitoring of the environment to identify any soil and groundwater pollution;
  • and controlling pollution from previous activities by means of containment or reduction operations.


In addition, a Group directive defines the following minimum requirements:

  • systematic identification of each site’s environmental and health impacts related to possible soil and groundwater contamination;
  • assessment of soil and groundwater contamination based on various factors (extent of pollution inside or outside the site’s boundaries, nature and concentrations of pollutants, presence of a vector that could allow the pollution to migrate, use of the land and groundwater in and around the site);
  • and management of health or environmental impacts identified based on the use of the site (current or future, if any) and the risk acceptability criteria recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Group.


Lastly, decommissioned Group facilities (i.e., chemical plants, service stations, mud pits or lagoons resulting from hydrocarbon extraction operations, wasteland on the site of decommissioned refinery units, etc.) impact the landscape and may, despite all the precautions taken, be sources of chronic or accidental pollution. Total has a site remediation policy with the aim to, in agreement with the authorities; allow new operations to be set up once the future use of the land has been determined. These remediation operations are conducted by the Group’s specialized entities. The Group’s provisions for the protection of the environment and site remediation are detailed in Note 12 to the Consolidated Financial Statements (point 7 of chapter 10 of the 2016 Registration document).


Environmental nuisances

The nuisances resulting from Total’s operations, including sound or odor nuisances or the result of vibrations or road, sea or river traffic, are monitored at the Group’s main industrial sites.


Monitoring systems that can be put in place include sound level measurements at the site perimeter or networks of “noses” to determine the origin and intensity of odors. In addition, most sites have a system for receiving and handling residents’ complaints, with the aim of gaining a clearer insight into the different types of nuisances and minimizing them.





Total announced in February 2017 a circular economy action plan covering the 2017-2020 period which comprises five commitments (purchasing, waste, new ranges of polymers, solarization of service stations and improvement of energy efficiency).


Waste prevention and management

The Group’s companies are focused on controlling the waste produced at every stage in their operations. This commitment is based on the following four principles, listed in decreasing order of priority:

1. reducing waste at source by designing products and processes that generate as little waste as possible, as well as minimizing the quantity of waste produced by the Group’s operations;

2. reusing products for a similar purpose in order to prevent them from becoming waste;

3. recycling residual waste;

4. and recovering energy, wherever possible, from non-recycled products.


A Group directive sets out the minimum requirements related to waste management. It is carried out in four basic stages: waste identification (technical and regulatory); waste storage (soil protection and discharge management); waste traceability, from production through to disposal (e.g., notes, logs, statements); and waste treatment, with technical and regulatory knowledge of the relevant processes, under the site’s responsibility.


On its sites, Total deploys programs to valorize (recycling and valorization) more than half of the Group’s waste by 2020. Moreover, Total is especially committed to managing and treating waste classified as hazardous. Due to its nature, hazardous waste is mainly treated outside the Group by specialized companies (187 kt in 2016, compared to 202 kt in 2015 and 223 kt in 2014). This decrease can be explained by a continuous waste production reduction policy started in Refining & Chemicals in 2015.


Waste treatment processes 2016 2015 2014
Recycling and/or valorization 58% 55% 56%
Landfill 18% 14% 20%
Others (incineration, biotreatment, etc.) 24% 31% 24%


Sustainable use of resources

Fresh water

The nature of the Group’s activities, and mainly those of Refining & Chemicals (about 80% of fresh water withdrawals in 2016), and to a lesser extent those of Exploration & Production, as well as other activities (such as gas and solar), is such that they have an impact on, and are dependent on, water resources. This is especially true when the activity is located in an environment that is sensitive in terms of water resources.


Total is aware of these challenges and takes water resources into account in its guidelines and operations:

  • in the Safety Health Environment Quality Charter, which states that “Total controls its use of natural resources…”, in particular water, which is an important natural resource;
  • and in its approach to water, set within the Group’s environmental framework, which incorporates the following core principles for action:

1. identification of priority sites that are sensitive in terms of water resources,

2. global management of risks to and impacts on water resources in the environmental management system,

3. and monitoring and integration of changes in this area, especially those associated with climate change, through its stakeholders, partnerships and R&D.

To determine which facilities are most affected by the availability of fresh water, Total monitors its water withdrawals and discharges across all of its sites.


Total identifies the levels of risk of its sites that withdraw more than 500,000 m3 per year and are located in areas potentially exposed to water resource risks, using the Local Water Tool (LWT) from the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI). This tool also helps to guide the actions taken to mitigate these risks in order to make optimal use of water resources on these sites.


Since 2016, the level of water risk was assessed on 11 Group sites: 8 Refining & Chemicals sites and 3 Exploration & Production sites. This assessment will gradually be extended to 13 more priority sites that have already been identified. A plan to optimize the use of water resources on these sites may be drawn up, depending on the nature of the risks and impacts.


For example, in Exploration & Production operations, reinjecting water extracted along with hydrocarbons (known as produced water) back into the original reservoir is one of the methods used to maintain reservoir pressure. The technical specifications in force in the Group stipulate that this option be prioritized over other methods. The Group’s R&D programs make it possible to examine the best techniques for treating this produced water so as to facilitate its reinjection or consider its recovery and otherwise discharge it into the natural environment while respecting natural and regulatory constraints.


Approximately 80% of the fresh water withdrawals were taken from the Refining & Chemicals segment in 2016. At refineries and petrochemicals sites, water is mainly used to produce steam and for cooling units. Increasing recycling and replacing water cooling with air cooling, such as at the Normandy (France) and Antwerp (Belgium) refineries, are Total’s preferred approaches for reducing fresh water withdrawals. The reuse of water was also investigated at Gonfreville as part of the E4Water program.


Efforts to optimize water risk management tools are being made both internally, with the LWT (used as a multi-site dash board), and externally, via the IPIECA, which is developing an e-learning module to extend and facilitate access to these tools.


On the whole, the Group’s indicators relating to water follow the IPIECA framework. The main indicator is aggregate withdrawals.


Water-related indicator 2016 2015 2014
Fresh water withdrawals excluding cooling water (million m3) 120 118 112


The increase in water withdrawals between 2014 and 2015 was mainly due to the increase in activity of certain refineries in maintenance shutdown in 2014. The value remained relatively stable between 2015 and 2016.



Total uses the ground surface that it needs to safely conduct its industrial operations and, to date, does not make extensive use of ground surfaces that could substantially conflict with various natural ecosystems or agriculture.


For open-pit oil sands mining projects, Total strives to ensure that environmental issues are managed by the operator, in particular with regard to the reclamation of affected soils.


Total has set up a working group to look into the conditions and the impacts of supplies of vegetable oil to the La Mède bio-refinery, which is due to start up at the end of 2017.


Raw materials

Hydrocarbons, the Group’s main raw material, are a form of energy. Losses of this raw material are divided mainly into 4 categories: safety or operational gas flaring ; cold venting ; hydrocarbons discharged in very low quantities through aqueous effluents, which amounted to 758 t in 2016; and accidental oil spills. These raw material losses remain negligible with respect to the Group’s production in 2016.





Due to their nature, the Group’s activities, and particularly its Exploration & Production activities, may be located in sensitive natural environments. Total’s operations can therefore have an impact on ecosystems and their biodiversity.


Total is aware of these challenges and takes biodiversity and ecosystems into account in its guidelines and operations:

  • in the Safety Health Environment Quality Charter, which specifies that Total “is committed to managing (…) its use of natural resources and its impact on biodiversity” and ecosystems;
  • and in the biodiversity approach, set within the Group’s environmental framework, which incorporates the following core principles for action:

1. deploy the mitigation hierarchy “avoid – mitigate – compensate”: Total applies this approach for the duration of its projects’ lifecycle to minimize the impact of its activities on biodiversity,

2. take into consideration the sensitivity of ecosystems: In the course of its business, Total identifies and takes into account the diversity and sensitivity of various environments in terms of biodiversity,

3. manage biodiversity: Total incorporates the biodiversity impact and risk management into its environmental management systems and refers to good practices within the industry,

4. report: Total reports to its stakeholders on its biodiversity performance,

5. and improve knowledge of biodiversity: Total participates in the improvement of knowledge of biodiversity and ecosystems as well as managing the stakes involved, through R&D initiatives taken with local and international partners, professional associations and the Total Foundation.


The Group made a commitment not to engage in oil and gas exploration or extraction operations at natural sites included on the UNESCO World Heritage List of June 4, 2013. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Total made the commitment to not carry out any exploration activity in the Virunga National Park, partly located in Block III of the Graben Albertine. Since 2017, the Group publishes the list of its licenses in the Arctic zone on its web site, and Total does not conduct any exploration activities of oil fields under sea ice in polar areas.


To develop its projects located in sensitive habitats, Total developed, based on the sensitivity and impact analysis, a Biodiversity Action Plan for Group operated sites located in the most sensitive protected areas corresponding to IUCN I to IV or Ramsar categories. The two biodiversity action plans developed in 2015 in Gabon (Atora) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Djeno) are currently being deployed. Other plans will be launched in the short term, in particular in Italy (the Tempa Rossa project), or in the medium term in Uganda and Papua New Guinea.


The Group actively contributes to the development of best practices related to biodiversity and ecosystem management in the extractive industry through its partnerships with IPIECA, the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative (which brings together the Equator Principles signatory banks and the mining and oil industries), the United Nation Environment Program’s World Conservation Monitoring (UNEP-WCMC) and other work groups on biodiversity bringing together stakeholders from beyond the private sector, such as the Business and Biodiversity Offset Program (BBOP), which includes international NGOs, governments, universities, the World Bank, etc. In France, Total continues its partnership with the Fondation pour la Recherche sur la Biodiversité (Foundation for biodiversity research) and the Centre Vétérinaire de la Faune Sauvage et des Ecosystèmes des Pays de la Loire (France).