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Challenges identification



Table of contents:

Total is present in more than 130 countries. The nature of its activities and its geographical footprint in complex environments place the Group at the junction of a range of society’s concerns relating to people, the environment or business ethics. Faced with these challenges, Total’s ambition is to become the responsible energy major.


As part of its statement of non-financial performance, Total has identified the main challenges linked to its activities. In order to do this, the Group employs a continuous process of identifying and mapping risks in order to develop sector-specific policies that reflect the desired level of control.

The Group manages its activities through internal management systems implemented at the different levels of the company (headquarters, subsidiaries and sites). The Group thus performs regular assessments, following different modalities, of the risks and impacts of its activities in the areas of industrial safety, security, the environment, climate, workers’ and local residents’ protection, and business ethics. These assessments are generally carried out:

  • prior to investment decisions in the Group’s industrial projects (safety and security studies, impact assessments, particularly environmental and societal), acquisition and divestiture;
  • during operations;
  • prior to placing new substances on the market (toxicological and ecotoxicological studies, life cycle analyses).

These assessments incorporate the regulatory requirements of the countries where the Group operates and generally accepted professional practices. In addition, internal control systems are structured and regularly adjusted to align with the specific features of certain areas and the corporate strategic orientations set by the Board of Directors and General Management.

Total has thus identified the main challenges linked to its activities. These are listed below and on this website in the introduction to the sections relating:


Since 2016, the Group has set the ambition of becoming the responsible energy major. Because a company is first and foremost a people-driven adventure, this ambition depends primarily on the women and men who work at Total, both today and tomorrow. Becoming the responsible energy major also means being a responsible company for the Group’s teams and, in particular, a company that offers its employees opportunities to develop and thrive professionally.

The Group has identified its main challenges to developing Human Resources:

  • attracting and retaining talents in line with the key skills sought by the Group, based on the principle of non-discrimination and equal opportunity;
  • maintaining employees’ long-term employability by facilitating skills acquisition in order to keep up with the development of job sectors and technologies;
  • ensuring a high level of commitment based on respect for each other and improving quality of life at work.


Given their specific nature, the Group’s activities involve health and safety risks for the Group’s employees, the personnel of the Group’s contractors, and residents in the vicinity of industrial sites. Furthermore, certain products marketed by Total may present risks for the health and safety of consumers.

In this context, the Group has therefore identified its main personal health and safety challenges:

  • preventing the occurrence of any major industrial accidents;
  • preventing occupational accidents;
  • preventing occupational health risks;
  • minimizing risks for the health and safety of consumers.


Total places the environment at the heart of its ambition of being a responsible company. The specificities of the Group’s activities incur environmental risks, for which Total has developed a structured management policy.

The Group has therefore identified its main environmental challenges:

  • preventing incident risks of accidental pollution;
  • limiting its environmental footprint by managing energy consumption, emissions in natural environments (water, air, soil) and use of natural resources;
  • managing impacts to biodiversity and ecosystems during projects and operations especially when situated in sensitive natural environments;
  • limiting its production of residual waste by supporting the circular economy.


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 affordable, more available and cleaner energy for as many people as possible.

The Group has therefore identified the following main challenges in the realm of climate change:

  • reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of its operated oil & gas activities including methane emissions;
  • implementing a strategy allowing to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy products used by its customers;
  • identifying and support technologies and initiatives that helps respond to the challenges of climate change.


The main challenges associated with the Group activities and respect for human rights are identified using the methodology set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework relating to the “salient issues” with regard to human rights at risk of the most severe negative impact through the Company’s activities or business relationships.

This analysis, as well as the internal risk mapping activities, have led the Group to identify six risks subdivided across three key areas:

  • human rights in the workplace of Total’s employees as well as of the employees of its suppliers and other business partners:
    • forced labor and child labor;
    • discrimination;
    • just and favorable working conditions and safety;
  • human rights and local communities:
    • access to land;
    • the right to health and an adequate standard of living;
  • respect for human rights in security-related activities:
    • the risk of misuse of force.



Total is a major player in the energy sector where public authorities regularly play a role and where the amounts invested may be very high. In addition, the Group is present in more than 130 countries, some of which have a high perceived level of corruption according to the index drawn up by Transparency International.

Aware that it is highly exposed to the risk of corruption, Total applies a principle of zero tolerance.


With a presence in more than 130 countries through 1 134 consolidated affiliates, Total carries out its operations in a constantly changing environment and is subject to an increasingly complex set of tax regulations, which may be in conflict when combined or subject to varying interpretations, thus giving rise to potential tax risk.

In this context, Total has developed a responsible tax approach based on clear principles of action and rigorous governance rules as set out in its tax policy statement, which was released in 2014 and is available to the public.


At a national level, the Group’s activities generate value for the countries where it operates, and Total intends to contribute to the development of economic opportunities for its host regions and the communities. At a local level, the Group’s activities can be a source of opportunities for the people, but may also have an impact on the living conditions of local communities and residents. Finally, in order to address society’s global concerns, the Group is committed to public interest.

Within this context, the Group has identified its main challenges in regards to creating and sharing value:

  • fostering the economic development of the regions;
  • managing societal challenges related to the Group’s activities;
  • engaging in citizenship intiatives.


Total’s activities generate hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs worldwide. Present in more than 130 countries, the Group currently works with a network of more than 100,000 suppliers of goods and services.

Through their activities, Total’s subcontractors and suppliers may face the same risks that the Group encounters in its own activities notably in terms of societal and environmental risks. The most prominent risks relate mainly to human rights in the workplace (forced labor, child labor, discrimination, fair and equitable working conditions and safety), health, security and safety, corruption, conflicts of interest, fraud and the environment.


Total’s consolidated statement of non-financial performance is published in its 2019 Universal Registration Document, chapter 5, as per Article L. 225-102-1 of the French Commercial Code, and discloses how the Company and the entities included in the scope of consolidation, in accordance with Article L. 233-16 of the French Commercial Code, take into account the social and environmental consequences of their activities, as well as the effects of those activities with regard to respect for human rights and fighting corruption and tax evasion.
Pursuant to the above mentioned Article L. 225-102-1, this statement also includes information about the impact on climate change of the Company’s activity and the use of the goods and services that it produces, its societal commitments in order to promote sustainable development, the circular economy, the collective agreements in place within the Company and their impacts on the Company’s economic performance as well as on employees’ working conditions, the actions aimed at fighting discrimination and promoting diversity, and the measures taken in favor of people with disabilities(1).

(1)The Group has not made any specific societal commitments in order to prevent food waste and food poverty or to promote animal welfare and responsible, fair and sustainable food, as these are not significant challenges with respect to the nature of the Group’s activities.