Biodiversity: Providing an Adapted Response for Each Natural Environment

Giraffe at the Murchison national parc, in Ouganda Girafe près d’un rig en Ouganda

We deploy the necessary resources to preserve biodiversity everywhere we operate and focus on ensuring the sustainability of ecosystems and the services they provide to local communities. Total is active in more than 130 countries and in extremely varied ecosystems. For this reason, our approach to biodiversity is designed to provide a targeted response for each specific situation.

Why it matters

Humans depend on other species to provide a wide variety of services, from producing oxygen to pollinating flowers. Preserving biodiversity promotes the development and well-being of every living organism. Yet biodiversity is sometimes threatened. Significant legislative changes are under way to address this problem at both the national and international levels. Total is not simply interested in complying with regulatory requirements. For us, preserving biodiversity everywhere we operate means preserving the heritage and lifestyle of each local community.

Biodiversity: our approach and our guidelines for daily action

Our very clear objective is to avoid impacting biodiversity as much as possible everywhere we operate throughout the entire life cycle of our facilities and products.

We do this by:

  • Taking tangible measures to avoid, reduce, mitigate and, when necessary, compensate for any loss of biodiversity. We deploy this approach throughout the project life cycle to minimize the impact of our operations on biodiversity and, if the situation allows, help create a positive impact.
  • Taking ecosystem sensitivity into account. From the design phase, every Group project must assess biodiversity risk through a baseline study and an impact study. We implement enhanced assessment and monitoring procedures in regions where biodiversity is particularly sensitive and have made a voluntary commitment to refrain from operating in certain regions. Lastly, we are particularly attentive to ecosystem services that are related to water resources and that could be affected by climate change.

Sensitive Habitats: Our Commitment

Total has made a commitment to refrain from prospecting or exploiting oil and gas in natural sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as of December 31, 2017. Total also rules out any exploration in oil fields located in the Arctic icepack area.

  • Managing biodiversity. Our environmental management system (EMS) systematically integrates the management of risks and impacts on biodiversity. We apply stringent environmental requirements that are sometimes even stricter than current legislation and regulations. This risk is regularly monitored at every stage of the project, until the last unit is dismantled.
  • Reporting. Total reports to its stakeholders on its performance with regard to biodiversity.

Find out more on our Sustainable Performance site.

Yemen LNG: Coral at the Center of Our Marine Biodiversity Action Plan

Seri Balhaf tanker at anchor, before loading of liquefied natural gas. Balhaf, Yemen.
We discovered vibrant coral reefs during the pre-project studies for the Yemen LNG liquefaction plant in Balhaf, on the country's southern coast. As a result, our experts modified the initial construction plans to avoid wherever possible its impact on the marine ecosystem, including ocean currents, coral and fish population. In making these decisions, we consulted with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the local nature conservation authority.
Certain unavoidable coral colonies were relocated to reduce damage and allow the coral to thrive in conditions similar to those in its natural habitat. This transplantation, carried out by Total's teams, was the largest ever undertaken worldwide.

Deepening knowledge about biodiversity

It is essential that we gain a better understanding of ecosystems, and scientific research has a key role to play in this effort. Our environment teams at our headquarters, affiliates and the Lacq survey and research center in southern France are involved in the drive to deepen our knowledge about biodiversity.

Because a detailed analysis of the local environment is required to assess an area's sensitivity, we work closely with local partners whose knowledge of the area gives us insight into the biodiversity-related challenges and helps us determine the appropriate measures to be taken. For example, we partner locally and globally with international organizations involved in protecting biodiversity such as U.N. Environment through the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) and its Proteus program, as well as more specialized initiatives like the regional platform of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Global Business & Biodiversity Programme, the Natural Capital Coalition and research organizations such as Fondation pour la Recherche sur la Biodiversité.
We also collaborate with professional organizations such as IPIECA, the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative for the oil, gas and financial industries, and their biodiversity working groups.

In France, as a member of the French business association Entreprises pour l’Environnement (EpE), we are part of the collective initiative called act4nature. We are making ten biodiversity-related undertakings and have added six more of our own.