ISS, Glass Lewis split on climate resolution at TotalEnergies

Logo of TotalEnergies at an electric vehicle fuelling station near Paris
A logo of TotalEnergies is seen at an electric vehicle fuelling station in the La Defense business district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, February 8, 2023. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - Influential shareholder advisers ISS and Glass Lewis have given opposite recommendations to TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) investors over a resolution calling for faster emissions cuts at the French energy group, according to documents seen by Reuters.

The resolution was filed by climate activist shareholder Follow This and will be voted on at the company's May 26 annual general meeting.

Supported by a number of institutional investors, it asks TotalEnergies to align itself to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

ISS advised investors to back the resolution while Glass Lewis said they should reject it.

TotalEnergies forecasts its overall greenhouse gas emissions will not see a big reduction by 2030, given it wants to grow its gas business and has recommended shareholders vote against the Follow This resolution.

Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 43% by 2030 from 2019 levels to have any hope of realising the aims of the Paris deal.

"(TotalEnergies') plan shows lack of rigor, notably with regards to the 2030 worldwide Scope 3 objective and the ongoing business plan that develops oil projects and relies on gas over the period 2020-2030," Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) said.

ISS recommended shareholders in TotalEnergies rival Shell (SHEL.L) vote against a Follow This resolution, while acknowledging the merits of the proposal. ISS also recommended a vote against Follow This at this year's BP (BP.L) shareholder meeting.

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Glass Lewis, by contrast, said it did not believe adopting such a resolution would benefit investors, given TotalEnergies' existing emission-reduction goals.

It also cited "insufficient evidence that would lead us to believe it is significantly lagging its peers."

Reporting by Ron Bousso, Shadia Nasralla and America Hernandez, Editing by Louise Heavens

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