Promoting Financial Transparency

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Total s'engage en faveur du respect d'une transparence rigoureuse des revenus générés par ses activités. Le Groupe participe activement aux initiatives et dialogues intergouvernementaux sur le sujet.

Oil and gas development generates substantial revenues for private enterprises and producing countries, but the public often has little idea of how much money is involved. Often, too, the benefits are distributed unequally among the population. This lack of transparency reflects weak institutions and feeds conflict as parties vie for control of these resources.

Awareness of the problem has spurred calls for everyone involved in the oil and gas industry to take steps to ensure that production does not come at the expense of the people living in producing regions. Today, clarifying the relationships between host countries and the extractive industry is a priority to ensure fair management of oil revenues.

Total is committed to strict transparency and participates actively in intergovernmental initiatives and dialogue on this issue. We support the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote the cause.

Origin and Goals of the EITI

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) aims to strengthen the transparency of transactions between governments and companies in the oil, gas and mining industries in order to improve governance in resource-rich countries.

The process was launched in 2002 at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, on the initiative of Tony Blair. Many countries, companies working in the extractive industries (BP, Shell, Exxon, Chevron, Total, etc.), investors, financial institutions like the World Bank and a number of NGOs (Publish What You Pay, Transparency International, Save the Children, Global Witness and Secours Catholique) joined the process on its foundation.

The initiative is consistently backed by the G8 Summit since 2003: in Evian in June 2003, in Gleneagles in July 2005, in Heiligendamm in June 2007, in L’Aquila in July 2009 and most recently in Deauville in May 2011.

The 2009 G20 Pittsburgh Summit also encouraged participation in the EITI and the G20 Cannes Summit confirmed its support to the initiative in 2011.

The EITI is based on a specific situation...

Many countries that depend on revenues from such natural resources as oil, gas and minerals have tended to under-perform economically and socially.

Better use of revenue flows generated by extractive industries that invest heavily in these countries can reduce poverty and stimulate growth. By encouraging greater transparency regarding these revenues, their use can be managed more effectively.

...and a commitment

The initiative is based on a commitment from producing countries to publicly declare that they have signed on to the EITI’s principles and to implement an action program leading to the disclosure of revenues they receive from the extractive industry. The decision to take part in this voluntary process lies with individual governments.

Similar approaches had already been undertaken in the diamond industry (Kimberley Process) and the wood industry (EC Initiatives).

Why Support the EITI?

The EITI is a process founded on a voluntary, win-win approach.

Benefits for companies

The transparency process promotes the emergence of stable economic and political conditions and an improved investment climate over the long-term.

Benefits for implementing countries

The EITI promotes greater economic and political stability and sends a positive signal to foreign investors by fostering sound, sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The EITI is supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which make greater transparency a condition for economic aid.

Benefits for civil society organizations, such as NGOs

  • The initiative supports good governance, strengthens public institutions and raises public awareness.
  • It helps civil society to better understand the private sector and, consequently, improves its relations with it.
  • It strengthens ties with investors and international organizations.

Benefits for local communities

Local communities receive a greater share of oil, gas and mining revenues.

The EITI enables governments and companies to strengthen and promote the values of social justice, responsibility, integrity and good governance.

EITI, a Defined Framework for the Oil Industry

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) promotes greater transparency in the management of oil revenues. It calls:

  • for all private and national extractive companies to publish what they pay to governments;
  • for an independent aggregator to consolidate and publish the data;
  • for the confidentiality of existing contracts to be maintained;
  • and for prior government approval

Position and Commitments

Total joined the EITI on its creation in 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, known as the Johannesburg Summit.

After having been elected to the EITI Board as an alternate member in September 2007, we were elected as a permanent member from February 2009 to March 2011 in recognition of our deep commitment to the initiative. The Board comprises 20 permanent members representing implementing countries, supporting countries, civil society organizations, the oil, gas and mining industries, and investment companies.Our representative, Jean-François Lassalle, has remained a very active member in the Initiative since March 2011.

Implementation

Promoting financial transparency to host countries

The principle of sovereignty is just as fundamental as the principle of financial transparency, which means that transparency cannot be achieved without the voluntary commitment of governments. While respecting this principle, we believe that we have to encourage host countries to move forward with EITI implementation.

We support and assist them throughout the process by:

  • Fostering dialogue between our managers and representatives of government, civil society and the EITI.
  • Participating in EITI work and organizations.
  • Promoting the EITI initiative at conferences and in articles.
  • Providing resources and recommendations based on our experience.

Monitoring

Detailed, public information through country reports

As part of our commitment, we publish detailed reports on a number of host countries — Angola, Cameroon (until the end of our activities in the country in 2010) Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, Nigeria, Norway and United-Kingdom. These country briefs provide information on our exploration and production operations in these countries, including details about our acreage, contract types, local subsidiaries, and the taxes we pay to governments.

We also publish information each year about our oil and gas exploration and production activities, broken down by country, in our Factbook.

Recent Achievements

This information is collected for purpose of Communication on Progress in line with our UN Global Compact report.

  • The "Total in Cameroon" report was updated for the last time in 2010 before we ended our activities in the country.
  • The "Total in Nigeria", "Total in Gabon", "Total in Angola" and "Total in Norway", "Total in UK", "Total in Indonesia", "Total in Congo" reports were updated in 2011.
  • These seven countries represented 50 % of our production in 2012.

1 The Board comprises 20 permanent members representing implementing countries, supporting countries, industry, investment companies and civil society organizations.