Environmental challenges

Table of contents:

Environmental challenges

The reporting initiatives and frameworks that are being set up, such as the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), consider nature as whole, through a combination of four realms: land, oceans, freshwater and the atmosphere.

For a company like TotalEnergies, caring for the environment in our activities includes all these realms.


Learn more on our Company’s environmental challenges

General policy and environmental targets

In accordance with its Health, Safety, Environment & Quality charter, TotalEnergies considers respect for the environment and nature as one of its priorities. All employees, at every level, must do their utmost to protect the environment as they go about their work. TotalEnergies strives to control its energy consumption, its emissions in natural environments (water, air, soil), its residual waste production, its use of natural resources and its impact on biodiversity. In line with its principle of actions, TotalEnergies takes on this topic, an approach based on transparency and dialogue when communicating with its stakeholders and third parties.


Infographics "Targets environment" - see detailed description hereafter
"Biodiversity" infographics - see detailed description hereafter

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Preventing risks of accidental pollution

To prevent accidental risks and, in particular, major spills that could reach the environment, TotalEnergies implements appropriate risk management policies


Oil spill preparedness202220212020
Number of sites whose risk analysis identified at least one risk of major accidental pollution to surface water113119119
Proportion of those sites with an operational oil spill contingency plan100%100%100%
Proportion of those sites that have performed an oil spill response exercise or whose exercise was prevented following a decision by the authorities92%97%88%
Accidental liquid hydrocarbon spills of a volume of more than one barrel that affected the environment, excluding sabotage202220212020
Number of spills496550
Total volume of spills (thousands of m³)
Total volume recovered (thousands of m³)0.11.7

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Limiting the environmental footprint of the Company activities

TotalEnergies implements a policy of avoiding, reducing and, where necessary, offsetting the footprint of its operations on the environment and on nature by setting up measures to protect environments (air, water, soil) and sustainability using resources (water, soil).


Atmospheric chronic emissions202220212020
SO2 emissions (in kt)131634
NOX emissions (in kt)605964
NMVOC emissions(a)(in kt)485869

(a) Non-methane volatile organic compounds.

Discharged water quality202220212020
Hydrocarbon content of offshore continuous water discharges (in mg/l)12.913.712.8
% of sites that meet the target for the quality of offshore discharges (30 mg/l)93%92%100%(a)
Hydrocarbon content of onshore continuous water discharges (in mg/l)

% of sites that meet the target for the quality of onshore discharges of:

  • goal 2010-2020: 15 mg/l
  • goal 2030: 1 mg/l







(a) Alwynn and Gryphon sites (United Kingdom) excluded, as their produced water discharges only occur during the maintenance periods of the water reinjection system and are subject to a specific regulatory declaration.

Water-related indicator (Mcm)202220212020
Fresh water withdrawals excluding open loop cooling water107101105
Fresh water consumption807575
Fresh water withdrawal in water stress area(1)555452

(1) World Resources Institute. The indicators in this paragraph are evaluated from the Projected Basic Water Stress 2030

Infographics "TotalEnergies and water" - see detailed description hereafter

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Learn more about the CEO Water Mandate

Consult TotalEnergies’ response to the CDP Water Security questionnaire

Managing damage to biodiversity and ecosystems during projects and operations

In 2016, the Company pledged to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those relating to biodiversity. Since 2018, TotalEnergies has been a signatory to the Act4Nature initiative promoted by the French Association of Enterprises for the Environment, now act4nature international alliance.

In 2020, TotalEnergies set itself a new global biodiversity ambition to coincide with the preparation of the United Nations’ global biodiversity plan, and updated its public commitments in this field. This ambition has been incorporated into the Company’s One MAESTRO framework.

Our ambition is based on four pillars: respecting our voluntary exclusion zones, preserving biodiversity in our projects and on our existing sites important for the environment, and promoting biodiversity. It is based on the Act4Nature International commitments we have made since 2018.

Our approach is to reconcile the development of energy resources with the protection of biodiversity to build a sustainable future. We apply the Mitigation Hierarchy approach of Avoidance, Reduction/Restoration and Compensation to all our operations and projects. In concrete terms, we implement environmental impact assessments for all our projects, including for renewable energy projects, in all countries where we operate.

Biodiversity Discover our Commitments and actions
Biodiversity 4 ambitions

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Promoting the circular economy

We are actors of the circular economy through our production of biofuels, biogas and circular polymers. For biofuels, we have set an objective of increasing the share of circular feedstock (used cooking oil and animal fat) from 50% to more than 75% as from 2024. Biogas production relies primarily on agricultural waste.

At our sites, promoting circular management of resources starts with responsible management of our waste.


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TotalEnergies, founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste

In March 2022, we joined the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE)

Environmental and social impact assessments

When a new industrial site is developed, a baseline study must be conducted. This is supplemented by environmental and social impact assessments that measure and analyze actual and potential impact, positive and negative, direct, indirect or cumulative, in the short, medium and long term of the project.

Those studies are generally part of a public process involving stakeholder consultation.

The Company’s significant projects are listed below by country (alphabetical order):


Ivory Coast

  • Environmental and social impact assessment for Exploration drilling wells on offshore blocks CI-705 and CI-706 (2021): Ivory Coast official News Paper – Ministerial Order 6th July 2021


  • Environmental and social impact assessment on Bloc 4 (July 2019)



  • Initial environmental assessment on the 3D seismic project on Bloc YWB (October 2017)



  • Environmental and social impact assessment of the Tilenga project (February 2019)
  • Environmental and social impact assessment of the EACOP project (January 2019)

Papoua New-Guinea

Sao Tome

  • Environmental and social impact assessment of Block 1 (in Portuguese)

South Africa


  • Environmental and social impact assessment of the EACOP project (August 2019)

United States

  • Environmental impact assessments of the South Platte project are available on the BSEE website (Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement) – reference G36155