Total is progressive in several ways: It calculates the cost of carbon into all of its projects, emphasizes communication with activists in areas where it has facilities, and offers good benefits and the most egalitarian salary structure of the top 10. Unfortunately, quantifying impacts and linking them to performance reviews is not yet part of the company culture, and workforce diversity remains below average.
MANAGEMENT SCORE: 11 out of 25
Total, like Shell, stands out for pricing of carbon and willingness to take input from critics. “Acceptability by host countries is linked to growth,” says Alain Castinel, Total’s leader of sustainability efforts. However the company has not set specific targets, an effort Castinel calls “very difficult.”
Talking the talk Total mandates that managers of each facility engage with community activists, social organizations, and local officials; a formal process for doing so is expected to be in place by 2009.
Alternative energy Total generates an unspecified amount of revenue from biomass, biofuels, solar and wind power, and a carbon-capture pilot program that stores stabilized CO2 in underground caves. Almost all Total locations in France sell less-polluting (and less-expensive) liquid petroleum gas to drivers of vehicles with specialized engines.
Accountability The executive committee requires that all capital projects complete environmental and social risk assessments; managers who use the sustainability approach are recognized in regional meetings, but performance reviews and pay increases aren’t tied to sustainability targets.
Cost of carbon Total calculates the cost of CO2 emissions at 20 euros per metric ton of greenhouse gases (roughly $32 per short ton at early December 2007 exchange rates) into its analyses of all projects. Pricing CO2 in this fashion is increasingly common, both in Europe and the United States, according to company reports submitted to the Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent organization that is the largest repository of corporate greenhouse-gas-emissions data.
IMPACT SCORE: 40 out of 100
Total emits nearly 64 million tons of greenhouse gases from oil production of 860 million barrels; its efficiency rate of 74 tons per 1,000 barrels puts it behind Marathon, Chevron, and Repsol.
Equality All 14 board members are European and only one is a woman. Total says it has increased diversity recruiting since 2004; today 7% of senior executives and 19% of managers are women, while 22% of executives and 58% of managers are non-French.
Fatalities Eighteen employees and contractors died on the job in 2006.
Health care Total provides health care for all employees (either through in-house facilities or local partnerships), and its international medical department audits services to ensure a base level of care. More than 90% of workers receive preventive care, but not all have access to comprehensive check-ups.
Compensation Total’s CEO makes $2.1 million (at early December 2007 exchange rates), and the average staffer earns about $80,000, making Total the most egalitarian among Big Oil. The company also distributes shares and stock options to thousands of employees; at year-end 2006, workers accounted for almost 4% of all holdings.
Oil exploration The company has middle-of-the-pack exposure (57%) to low-governance-rating countries relative to peers.
Outreach Total appears unique among Big Oil in one very HIP market: increasing energy access for (and revenue from) low-income rural areas now without access to electricity or safe energy for cooking. Total’s goal is to get one million people on the grid by 2010; it’s backing up this goal with $135 million to set up pilot solar-power programs in Venezuela, South Africa, and Morocco.