PFA, Denmark’s biggest commercial pension provider, said it would take an active role at TotalEnergies’ annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday in pushing the French oil and gas multinational to get specific on its climate aims.

The DKK725bn (€97.4bn) pension fund said on Tuesday: “Through close dialogue and participation in the general meeting, PFA will pressure TotalEnergies to become even more ambitious in the climate area and become more specific about how to achieve their goals also in the short and medium term.”

PFA said before the meeting that it would “take the floor and ask Total to explain how they will more specifically live up to their climate objectives”, adding that a large and leading company like Total had to become even more ambitious.

At Wednesday’s AGM in Paris, a majority of shareholders backed the company’s climate strategy, while protesters outside the venue denounced its environmental toll and business in Russia, Reuters reported. 88.9% of votes cast were in favour of the company’s climate plan, down from 92% last year.

PFA said that in order to achieve the greatest possible impact on the transition from fossil to renewable energy, it had significantly reduced its oil and gas exposure to only two leading companies – Royal Dutch Shell and TotalEnergies – reasoning that this concentrated its efforts.

Rasmus Bessing, chief operating officer in PFA’s investment department, said in a video on the pension firm’s website: “For PFA it’s important to be present at TotalEnergies’ AGM, because it is a place where we can make our vote count and where we can be heard.”

Though the French firm was one of the oil and gas companies that has moved the most in the green transition, Bessing said that was not good enough.

“We want them to go even faster, and therefore we are pushing them with a dialogue process to set themselves even tougher targets,” he said.

Investors including MN and Meeschaert Amilton Asset Management, CNP Assruance and Sycomore AM voted against TotalEnergies’ plan. MN, on behalf of Dutch pension fund PMT, was one of a group of investors that co-filed a shareholder resolution at Total calling for tougher emission reduction targets, but the company refused to table it.

TotalEnergies’ AGM followed that of Shell yesterday, with shareholders being asked to vote both on a management-backed request for approval of its energy transition and a resolution from pressure group Follow This calling for tighter emission reduction target-setting. 

The shareholder resolution received 20% support, down from 30% in 2021, while the in-house climate plan received 80% support. From the perspective of ‘no’ votes, this was a near doubling, with 20% of votes cast against this year versus 11% last year.

At Chevron and ExxonMobil AGMs today there was 33% and 28% support for the Follow This proposals, according to the Dutch group. 

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