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Climate Change-Related Challenges

Total’s ambition is to become the responsible energy major. The Group is committed to contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly with regards to those subjects that are connected to climate change and the development of more available and cleaner energy for as many people as possible.

The Group has therefore identified its main climate change challenges:
  • reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its operated oil & gas activities including methane emissions;
  • implement a strategy allowing to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy products used by its customers;
  • identify and support technologies and initiatives that helps respond to the challenge of climate change.

In order to make an effective contribution to the climate change issue, Total relies on an organization and structured governance framework to make sure climate-related challenges are fully integrated into the Group’s strategy. Consequently, the Group has a robust strategy and implements a structured risk management system.

In line with the multiple situations encountered in the field, and while supporting the Group’s governance bodies, the Strategy and Climate division shapes the Group’s approach to climate change while working with the operational divisions of the Group’s business segments. By monitoring indicators, progress can be measured and the Group’s actions can be adjusted.



Total has an organization and structured governance framework to make sure climate-related challenges are fully integrated into the Group’s strategy. Since September 2016, its organization includes a Strategy-Innovation corporate division, which includes the Strategy & Climate division as well as the Gas, Renewables & Power business segment, whose President is a member of the Executive Committee.


Oversight by the Board of Directors

Total’s Board of Directors ensures that climate-related issues are incorporated into the Group’s strategy and examines climate change risks and opportunities during the annual strategic outlook review of the Group’s business segments.

To carry out its work, the Board of Directors relies on its Strategic & CSR Committee, whose rules of procedure were changed in September 2017 then in July 2018 in order to broaden its missions in the realm of CSR and in questions relating to the inclusion of climate-related issues in the Group’s strategy.

Aware of the importance of climate change challenges faced by the Group, the Board of Directors decided, in 2016, to introduce changes to the variable compensation of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to take better account of the achievements of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Group’s HSE targets. For fiscal year 2018, the importance given to these criteria rose further: CSR performance is assessed by considering the extent to which climate issues are included in the Group’s strategy, the Group’s reputation in the domain of Corporate Social Responsibility as well as the policy concerning all aspects of diversity.

The Board of Directors meeting of March 13, 2019 decided to change the criteria for the determination of the variable portion of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer’s compensation for the year 2019. Among others, a quantifiable criteria related to the evolution of GHG emissions (Scopes 1 & 2) on operated oil & gas facilities (refer to the Registration Document 2018, chapter 4, section 4.3.2 for details).


Role of management

Total’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in compliance with the long-term strategic direction set by the Board of Directors, implements the strategy of the Group and its business segments while making sure climate change challenges are taken into account.

He relies on the President, Group Strategy-Innovation, who is a member of the Executive Committee, to whom the Senior Vice President Strategy & Climate, and the Senior Vice President Climate report (refer to the Group organization chart). The Senior Vice President Climate chairs the Climate-Energy steering Committee, which mainly includes representatives of Strategy and HSE management from the various business segments. The mission of this Committee consists of structuring the Group’s approach to the climate, and in particular to:

  • propose GHG emission reduction targets for the Group’s operated oil & gas facilities;
  • propose a strategy to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy products used by the Group’s customers;
  • monitor the existing or emerging CO2 markets;
  • drive new-technology initiatives and projects that can reduce CO2 emissions (energy efficiency, CO2 capture and storage, for example).



Identification of climate-related risks and opportunities


The risks and opportunities related to climate change are analyzed according to different timescales: short term (until 2020), medium term (until 2030) and long term (beyond 2030).

The identification of climate-related risks forms an integral part of the analysis of investment projects. The impact of these risks is also examined for the Group asset portfolio as a whole. These risks are presented in detail in point 3.1.2 of chapter 3 – Registration Document 2018.

Climate change also provides Total with opportunities. In the coming decades, demand for electricity will grow faster than the global demand for energy, and the contribution of renewables and gas to the production of electricity shall therefore play an essential role in the fight against climate change. Electricity alone will not be sufficient to meet all needs, particularly those connected to transport. Gas and sustainable biofuels will be attractive and credible alternatives to conventional fuels and the Group intends to develop them.

Certain sectors, particularly the cement industry and the steel sector, could struggle to reduce their GHG emissions. They will therefore require CO2 capture, use and storage technology (CCUS). Consequently, the Group intends to step up the development of CCUS to respond to these new needs.

Helping customers to reduce their energy consumption and environmental impact also offers opportunities and forms part of a trend that will be accelerated by digital technology. Total intends to innovate in order to provide them with new product and service offers that will support their energy options and their usages. The promotion of hybrid solutions combining hydrocarbons and renewables is part of this approach. Similarly, services can be offered to optimize energy for industrial sites. The Group aims to develop this approach for industrial and mobility applications.


Impact of climate-related risks and opportunities

Climate change is at the heart of the Company’s strategic vision. Total positions itself on high-growth low-carbon markets and intends to offer customers an energy mix with a carbon intensity that shall gradually decrease. To accompany these changes, Total has introduced a carbon intensity indicator for the energy products used by its customers. This indicator is described below.

Total has five major levers to structure its approach.


1) Improving energy efficiency

Optimizing the energy consumption of its operated facilities is Total’s first lever to reduce emissions. The Group therefore aims to improve the energy efficiency of its operated facilities by an average of 1% per year over the 2010-2020 period, at a time when exploration is becoming increasingly complex. This indicator is described below.

Total uses appropriate architectures and equipment and introduces technological innovations. For example, on offshore production barges, offshore platforms and onshore facilities, heat recovery systems at gas turbine exhausts have been implemented thereby avoiding the need for furnaces or boiler systems.

Total also offers customers an energy efficiency consultancy service so that they can optimize their own energy consumption and reduce their GHG emissions. The recent acquisition of GreenFlex forms part of this initiative. By providing consultancy (strategic and operational), data intelligence (digital platforms) and financing services, GreenFlex helps companies and regions improve their energy and environmental performance. The Company’s areas of expertise are varied and include, for example, the improvement and management of the energy performance of buildings, equipment, utilities and processes, sustainable mobility, flexible electricity consumption, renewables and positive-energy buildings. More than 700 companies have already been supported by GreenFlex.

Finally, in 2017, Total signed an agreement with Fondation GoodPlanet, chaired by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, for the implementation of a program to neutralize the carbon emissions from air travel by Group employees over a 10-year period. This project is expected to avoid the emission of 50,000 t of CO2 into the atmosphere per year. It will entail the creation and operation of 8,400 biodigesters in India.


2) Growing in natural gas

To respond responsibly to the strong rise in demand for electricity, Total remains committed to gas, whose CO2 emissions are half those of coal when used to generate electricity(1).

The Group wishes to be present throughout the whole gas chain, from production to end customer. Significant operations have taken place in the upstream and the downstream to make this possible. Upstream, Total has acquired a stake in the giant Yamal LNG project in the north of Russia. The Group has also acquired the LNG assets of Engie. These two complementary portfolios allow for the management of a volume of nearly 40 Mt of LNG as from 2020. Downstream, the Group has made strategic acquisitions, such as Direct Énergie and Lampiris, gas and electricity suppliers on the French and Belgian markets, and has developed Total Spring, which was launched in 2017 on the French market.

Finally, Total has committed itself to gas fuel for transport by acquiring a 25% stake in Clean Energy Fuels Corp., one of the leading distributors of gas fuel for HGVs in the United States, and by signing a contract with CMA-CGM, the first shipping company to equip its transcontinental container ships with LNG-powered engines.

Strengthening the position of gas in the energy mix must however be accompanied by a greater focus on control of methane emissions. To preserve the advantage that gas offers in terms of GHG emissions compared to coal for electricity generation, it is necessary to strictly reduce the methane emissions associated with the production and transportation of gas. In 2018, Total’s methane emissions are kept below 0.25% of the commercial gas produced(2). Total’s target is to sustainably reduce the intensity of its methane emissions of its operated facilities in the Exploration & Production segment to less than 0.20% of commercial gas produced by 2025.

The Group has been a member since 2014 of the partnership between governments and industrial companies for the improvement of tools to measure and control methane emissions set up by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and promoted by UN Environment and the non-profit organization Environmental Defense Fund. The Group also took several actions as part of the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative and signed the guiding principles on the reduction of methane emissions on the gas value chain(3).

(1) Source: International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services; Life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions associated with natural gas and coal in different geographical contexts, October 2016.
(2) Refer to the OGCI methodology for methane intensity calculation:
(3) “Guiding Principles on Reducing Methane Emissions across the Natural Gas Value Chain”.


3) Developing a profitable low-carbon electricity business

Total is developing along the whole of the low-carbon electricity value chain, from electricity generation, storage and sale to the end customer. As demand for electricity is expected to grow strongly in the coming decades, Total intends to become a major player in this segment. To meet this target, Total plans to invest $1.5 to $2 billion per year. In 2018, the Group completed the acquisition of Direct Énergie, a French electricity supplier, for nearly €2 billion. With regards to the generation of electricity, Total aims at holding a production capacity of 10 GW of low-carbon electricity by 2023. In 2018, Total acquired four combined-cycle natural gas power plants in France with a global capacity of 1.6 GW. Refer to the Registration Document 2018, chapter 2 for further information on recent acquisitions.


4) Developing sustainable biofuels

A pioneer in biofuels for more than 20 years, Total is now one of Europe’s major actors with 2.4 Mt blended sustainable biofuels(4) in 2018 for a worldwide distribution of 3.2 Mt.

Furthermore, Total produced 0.1 Mt of sustainable biofuels in its refineries in 2018. Production at La Mède factory, scheduled to start in 2019, with a capacity of 0.5 Mt per year of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) based on sustainable certified charges. The Group intends to reach a market share of over 10% in Europe in HVO production. Biofuels that are currently available are mainly made with vegetable oil and sugar.

For more than 10 years, Total’s R&D teams have developed technologies that have broadened the range of usable resources, while also meeting the need for sustainability. The consortium BioTFuel is working on, for example, the development of lignocellulose (plant waste).

(4) Physical volume of biofuels in equivalent ethanol and esters according to the rules defined by the European RED Directive, excluding volumes sold to third parties via trading.


5) Investing in carbon sink businesses

Carbon storage is key to achieving carbon neutrality in the second half of the 21st century. Total is focusing, on the one hand, on developing CCUS and, on the other, on preserving and restoring the capacity of ecosystems to act as carbon sinks. CCUS is vital for several industries, especially those that emit massive amounts of CO2 due to the nature of their business (cement, steel, etc.). Total allocates significant resources to this area by dedicating up to 10% of the Group’s R&D budget to it. Several projects have made substantial progress in recent months. Northern Lights (Norway) is a project in which the Group participates alongside Equinor and Shell. Total is also a partner of the Clean Gas Project (UK), together with the OGCI’s investment fund and a few companies of the sector(5).

Total announced in February 2019 the creation of an entity dedicated to investments in natural carbon sinks, composed of experts in environment and agronomy, with an investment budget $100 million per year from 2020 onwards. Furthermore, actions of preservation and restoration of the forest are currently conducted (refer to the “Societal impact and local development” section which presents the Total Foundation program carried mainly by the Fondation d’entreprise Total).

Sector initiatives and international framework

Total is also committed to various sector initiatives on the main challenges raised by climate change. Indeed, tackling climate change requires cooperation between all actors, from both public and private sectors.

Thus, Total joined, in 2014, the call of the UN Global Compact, which encourages companies to consider a CO2 price internally and publicly support the importance of such a price via regulation mechanisms suited to the local context. In particular, Total advocates the emergence of a balanced, progressive international agreement that prevents the distortion of competition between industries or regions of the world. Drawing attention to future constraints on GHG emissions is crucial to changing the energy mix. Total therefore encourages the setting of a worldwide price for each ton of carbon emitted, while ensuring fair treatment of “sectors exposed to carbon leakage” (as defined by the EU). In addition, Total is working with the World Bank as part of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC). In June 2017, Total became a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council, an initiative that calls for the introduction of a “carbon dividend”, namely a redistribution mechanism that would tax the biggest fossil fuel consumers (the population’s wealthiest citizens) in order to pay a dividend to the entire population.

In 2014, Total was actively involved in launching and developing the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a global industry partnership. At year-end 2018, this initiative involved 13 major international energy players. Its purpose is to develop solutions for a sustainable low emissions future. Launched in 2017, the OGCI Climate Investments fund, which has access to over $1 billion over 10 years, invests in technology that significantly cuts emissions. The fund’s initial investments notably are: a large-scale industrial CO2 capture and storage project (Clean Gas Project); a solution that reduces the carbon footprint of cement by using CO2 instead of water to set concrete (Solidia Technologies); a high-efficiency opposed-piston engine that reduces GHG emissions (Achates Power) and a technology that incorporates CO2 as a raw material in the production of polyols used in polyurethanes, which are plastics that have multiple uses (Econic Technologies).

The Group also plays a role in various international initiatives that involve the private and the public sectors to bring about (non-exhaustive list):

  • carbon pricing within Caring for Climate – United Nations Global Compact, and the Paying for Carbon call;
  • the end of routine flaring of gas associated to oil production within the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 initiative;
  • greater transparency, while taking into account the recommendations of the G20 Financial Stability Board on climate, and of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD); and
  • the development of new state-of-the-art energy companies, since 2017 within the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC), a group of investors created by Bill Gates in 2015, and since 2016 within the Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion fund created in 2016 by the BEC.


Total also actively participates in the debate on climate issues, thanks especially to its long-term partnerships with university chairs, such as the Climate Economics Chair at Paris-Dauphine University, the climate change research program of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)(6), and Toulouse School of Economics. Lastly, Total offers training and makes presentations at several universities, thereby taking part in the debate.

(5) BP, ENI, Equinor, Occidental Petroleum and Shell.
(6) The Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.


Resilience of the organization’s strategy

In order to ensure the viability of its projects and long-term strategy in light of the challenges raised by climate change, the Group integrates, into the financial evaluation of investments presented to the Executive Committee, either a long-term CO2 price of $30 to $40 per ton (depending on the price of crude), or the actual price of CO2 in a given country if higher.

Regulations designed to gradually limit fossil fuel use may, depending on the GHG emission limits and time horizons set, negatively and significantly affect the development of projects, as well as the economic value of certain of the Group’s assets.

The Group performs sensitivity tests to assess the ability of its asset portfolio to withstand an increase in the price per ton of CO2. These studies show that a long-term CO2 price of $40/t(7) applied worldwide would have a negative impact of around 5% on the discounted present value of the Group’s assets (upstream and downstream). In addition, the average reserve life of the Group’s proved and probable reserves is approximately 20 years and the discounted value of proved and probable reserves beyond these 20 years is less than 10% of the discounted value of the Group’s upstream assets.

As part of the annual preparation of its long-term plan, Total makes long-term energy demand forecasts (oil, gas and electricity). The Group presented in February 2019 these forecasts (Total Energy Outlook), available on

(7) 40$/t as from 2021 for all countries, or the current price in a given country if it is higher than 40$/t.

Risk Management

Process to identify and assess risks related to climate change

Climate-related risks form part of the major risks that are identified and analyzed by the Group Risk Management Committee. The latter therefore has a map of the climate-related risks to which the Group is exposed. In addition, the Risk Committee (CORISK) assesses investment projects, risks and corresponding climate-related issues (flaring, GHG emissions, sensitivity to CO2 prices) before they are presented to the Executive Committee.


Process to manage and assess risks related to climate change

In its decision-making process, the risks and associated climate issues are assessed prior to the presentation of the projects to the Executive Committee. If the level of risk requires it, they are subject to mitigation measures.

With regard to risks related to climate issues, Total, in accordance with its Safety Health Environment Quality Charter, is committed to managing its energy consumption and develops processes to improve its energy performance and that of its customers.

The Group also ensures that it assesses the vulnerability of its facilities to climate hazards so that the consequences do not affect the integrity of the facilities, or the safety of people. More generally, natural hazards (climate-related risks as well as seismic, tsunami, soil strength and other risks) are taken into account in the construction of industrial facilities, which are designed to withstand both normal and extreme conditions. The Group carries out a systematic assessment of the possible repercussions of climate change on its future projects. These analyses include a review by type of risk (e.g., sea level, storms, temperature, permafrost) and take into account the lifespan of the projects and their capacity to gradually adapt. These internal studies have not identified any facilities that cannot withstand the consequences of climate change known today.


Integration of climate-related risks into global risks management

The risks related to climate issues are fully integrated in Total’s global risk management processes.

The Audit Committee takes part in the annual review of the results of the climatic and environmental reporting process. In addition, these results are audited by an independent third party.

Targets and metrics to measure climate-related risks and opportunities


Total has set itself targets and introduced a number of indicators to coordinate its performance.



Indicators related to climate change(a)

    2018 2017 2016 2015
SCOPE 1 - Direct greenhouse-gas emissions (operated scope) Mt CO2e 40 38 41 42

Breakdown by segment

    Exploration & Production


Mt CO2e









    Gas, Renewables & Power Mt CO2e 2 0 0 -
    Refining & Chemicals Mt CO2e 21 21 22 22
    Marketing & Services Mt CO2e < 1 < 1 < 1 < 1
SCOPE 1 - Direct greenhouse-gas emissions based on the Group's equity interest Mt CO2e 54 50 51 50
SCOPE 2 - Indirect emissions attributable to energy consumption by sites Mt CO2e 4 4 4 4
GHG emissions (Scopes 1 & 2) on operated oil & gas facilities Mt CO2e 42 41 45 46
SCOPE 3(b) - Other indirect emissions - Use by customers of products sold for end use Mt CO2e 400 400 420 410
Net primary energy consumption (operated scope) TWh 143(c) 142 150 153
Group energy efficiency indicator Base 100 in 2010 88.4 85.7 91 90.8
Daily volume of all flared gas (Exploration & Production operated scope) (including safety flaring, routine flaring, and non-routine flaring) Mm3/d 6.5 5.4 7.1 7.2
Of wich routine flaring Mm3/d 1.1 1 1.7(d) 2.3(e)
Carbon intensity of energy products used by customers of the Group g CO2e/kBtu 71 73 74 75(f)


(a) Refer to our “Reporting scopes and methodology” section for the scope of reporting.
(b) The Group usually follows the oil industry reporting guidelines published by IPIECA which are conform to the GHG Protocol methodologies. In this document, only item 11 of scope 3 (use of sold products), which is the most significant, is reported. Emissions for this item are calculated based on sales of finished products for which the next stage is end use, in other words combustion of the products to obtain energy. A stoichiometric emission factor is applied to these sales (oxidation of molecules to carbon dioxide) to obtain an emission volume.
(c) Excluding primary energy consumption of Direct Énergie gas power plants.
(d) Estimated volume at end 2016 based on new definition of Routine Flaring published in June 2016 by the Working Group Global Gas Flaring Reduction.
(e) Volumes estimated upon historical data.
(f) Indicator developed in 2018, with 2015 as the baseline year.

All this data as well as the related risks are also reported to the CDP once a year, Total’s response to the CDP Climate Change questionnaire is posted on this website. For its 2018 reporting regarding 2017 activities, the Group received an A-.



Reducing routine flaring has been a long-standing target of the Group, which designs its new projects without resorting to it. In addition, Total is committed to putting an end to routine flaring of its operated facilities by 2030. An 80% reduction target was set for 2020 compared to 2010, in other words, an average of 1.5 Mm3/d. This target has been met since 2017.

Furthermore, as part of the Global Gas Flaring Reduction program, Total has worked alongside the World Bank for over 10 years to help producing countries and industrial players control flaring of gas associated to oil production.

The increase in flaring linked to oil production in 2018 is due to acquisition and startup of new sites.


Energy efficiency

One of the Group’s performance targets is to better control energy consumption. Since the beginning of 2013, a Group directive has defined the requirements to be met at operated sites using more than 50,000 tons of oil equivalent per year of primary energy (approximately 40 sites). At end 2018, all the concerned sites reported compliance or had taken steps to comply with this directive. The aim is to ensure that 100% sites using more than 50,000 tons of oil equivalent per year by the end of 2020 have an auditable energy management system, such as the ISO 50001 on energy management(8). A certain number of sites that use less than 50,000 tons of oil equivalent per year have, voluntarily, taken measures to become ISO 50001 certified.

Energy efficiency is a key factor for the improvement of economic, environmental and industrial performance. Since 2013, the Group has used a Group Energy Efficiency Index (GEEI) to assess its performance in this area. It consists of a combination of energy intensity ratios (ratio of net primary energy consumption to the level of activity) per business.

The Group’s target for the 2010-2020 period is to improve the energy efficiency of its operated facilities by an average of 1% per year. By design, the base value of the GEEI was defined as 100 in 2010 and the target is to reach 90.4 in 2020. This target has been met since 2017.

Through the “Total Ecosolutions” program, the Group is developing innovative products and services that perform above market standards on the environmental front. At year-end 2018, 97 products and services bore the “Total Ecosolutions” label. The CO2e emissions avoided throughout the life cycle by the use of “Total Ecosolutions” products and services, compared to the use of benchmark products on the market and for an equivalent level of service, are measured annually based on sales volumes. This represented 1,75 Mt CO2e in 2018.

(8)The ISO 50001 standard accompanies the implementation in companies of an energy management system that allows a better use of energy.


GHG emissions

The Group has reduced by 25% the GHG emissions produced by its operated activities since 2010. This reduction was reached thanks to notably reducing flaring and improving energy efficiency.

In February 2019, Total announced a target to reduce GHG emissions (Scopes 1 & 2) on its operated oil & gas facilities from 46 Mt CO2e to less than 40 Mt CO2e in 2025.

Carbon intensity indicator of the products used by its customers

Total wishes to fully address the issue regarding the emissions of energy products used by its customers and therefore decided to report all of the emissions associated with these products in the form of a carbon intensity indicator.

This indicator measures the average GHG emissions of these products, from production in Total facilities to end use by customers. This indicator takes into account:

  • for the numerator:
    • the emissions connected to the production and conversion of energy products used by its customers on the basis of the Group’s average emission rates,
    • the emissions connected to the use of energy products used by the customers. For each product, stoichiometric emission factors(9) are applied to these sales to obtain an emission volume. Non-fuel use products (bitumen, lubricants, plastics, etc.) are not taken into account,
    • negative emissions stored thanks to CCUS and natural carbon sinks;
  • for the denominator: the quantity of energy sold, knowing that electricity is placed on an equal footing with fossil fuels by taking into account the average capacity factor and average efficiency ratio.

The Group intends to reduce its carbon intensity by 15% between 2015, the date of the Paris agreement, and 2030. This undertaking represents a responsible contribution by Total to the Paris agreement targets and it also enables the Group to fulfill its mission to supply to as many people as possible a more affordable, more available and cleaner energy.

Additional work on this method, whose main principles have already been established, is currently taking place. This work will improve the accuracy of the method used to calculate the method’s various components.

(9)The emission factors used are taken from a technical note from the CDP: Guidance methodology for estimation of scope 3 category 11 emissions for oil and gas companies.

TCFD correspondence table

In June 2017, the TCFD(10) of the G20’s Financial Stability Board published its final recommendations on information pertaining to climate to be released by companies. These recommendations include additional details for certain sectors, such as energy.

Total publicly announced its support for the TCFD and its recommendations during the summer of 2017, while noting that it is up to companies to define the information about climate-related risks and opportunities that are significant, which, consequently, are expected to be disclosed in financial filings, and the additional information that they choose to report on a voluntary basis. Total also believes that the quantification of impacts of different scenarios may not be relevant to investors as assumptions made by different companies may strongly diverge. The Group considers that companies have a major role to play in shaping how these issues evolve and that the modalities of the application of scenarios and the use of metrics should be further studied.

Total continued discussions by taking part in the Oil & Gas Preparer Forum set up by the TCFD in the autumn of 2017; this work resulted in the publication, in July 2018, of best practices on the disclosure of climate-related information and on the implementation of TCFD recommendations by the four companies that are members of the Forum(11).

(10)Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
(11)Eni, Equinor, Shell and TOTAL, with the support of the WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development).