Environmental challenges

Low angle view of the treetops

Table of contents:

Environmental challenges

The Company’s activities incur risks for the environment, for which TotalEnergies has developed a structured management policy.

In this context, the Company has identified its main environmental risks:

  • risk of accidental pollution;
  • environmental risks that would arise in the event of a liquid, gas or solid discharge or unsustainable use of natural resources;
  • risk of damage to biodiversity and ecosystems during projects and operations, especially those located in sensitive natural environments;
  • environmental risks associated with the production of final waste.

The risks and challenges relating to the environment are identified as part of a dynamic process that draws on the Company’s expertise and lessons learned, which are incorporated in the HSE reference framework known as One MAESTRO (Management and Expectations Standards Toward Robust Operations).

To address these risks, TotalEnergies relies on the HSE division, which forms part of the Strategy & Sustainability division, whose President is a member of the Executive Committee.

General policy and environmental targets

In keeping with its Safety Health Environment Quality charter, TotalEnergies considers respect for the environment to be a priority. 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. TotalEnergies takes a constructive approach on this topic that is based on transparency and dialogue when communicating with its stakeholders and third parties.

With this aim, the HSE division manages in an integrated manner the environmental, safety, health and societal challenges related to the Company’s operations. It coordinates the implementation of the Company’s Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Charter by defining and monitoring the implementation of the One MAESTRO internal reference framework. This reference framework and the corresponding audits are described in “Health and safety for everyone” section. The HSE division and the HSE departments within the Company’s entities seek to ensure that both applicable local regulations and internal requirements of One MAESTRO and the Company’s additional commitments are respected. The Company’s steering bodies, led by the HSE division, are tasked with:

  • monitoring TotalEnergies’ environmental performances, which are reviewed annually by the Company, for which multi-annual improvement targets are set;
  • handling, in conjunction with the business segments, the various environment-related subjects of which they are in charge;
  • promoting the internal standards to be applied by the Company’s operational entities.

As a general requirement, the One MAESTRO reference framework states that the environmental management systems of the sites operated by the Company that are important for the environment must be ISO14001 certified within two years of start-up of operations or acquisition: 100% of these 79 sites were compliant in 2021. In addition to this requirement, at year-end 2021, a total of 279 sites operated by the Company were ISO14001 certified. In 2021, 22 new sites received ISO14001 certification.

The One MAESTRO reference framework also includes specific requirements covering the Company’s various environmental risks (refer to “Preventing risks of accidental pollution”). In January 2022, the Company set itself higher environmental progress targets for 2030.

TotalEnergies seeks to ensure that all employees share its environmental protection requirements. Employees receive training in the required skills (refer to “Health and safety for everyone” section).

TotalEnergies also raises employee awareness through internal communication campaigns (e.g., in-house magazines, intranet, posters).

Preventing risks of accidental pollution

Drilling platform

To prevent accidental risks and, in particular, major spills that could reach the environment, TotalEnergies implements appropriate risk management policies. Section “Preventing the occurrence of major industrial accidents” describes the management measures covering the design and construction of facilities and any changes to existing facilities, as well as operations. It also describes the measures taken to control the integrity of facilities over time.

For its sea and river shipment requirements, TotalEnergies only charters ships and barges that meet the highest international standards. The internal policy that lays down the process and criteria by which ships and barges are selected, known as vetting. These criteria are based, in particular, on the regulations, the best practices and recommendations of the OCIMF(1) and, in Europe, on the European Barge Inspection Scheme (EBIS). Tankers and barges are vetted by a single centralized Company entity. The average age of the TotalEnergies’ time-chartered fleet is approximately seven years.

The Company’s operated marine terminals have completed the consolidation of their physical characteristics in the global database that forms part of the OCIMF’s Marine Terminal Information System (MTIS), which will make it easier to assess ships’ compatibility with ports of call. Additionally, TotalEnergies encourages all operated terminals to use the Marine Terminal Management and Self-Assessment (MTMSA), the framework recommended by the industry to terminal operators to ensure continuous improvement in the safety of their operations. A training course on checking safety conditions of the ship/shore interface (SSSCL – Ship Shore Safety Check List) and cargo transfer operations was made a requirement of the One MAESTRO reference framework in October 2020. At year-end 2021, 100% of the subsidiaries operating terminals had staff who had already undergone this training.

(1) Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF): An industry forum including the leading international oil companies. This organization manages the Ship Inspection Report (SIRE) Program, which holds and provides access to tanker and river barge inspection reports (Barge Inspection Questionnaire – BIQ).

Oil spill preparedness

In order to manage a major accidental spill efficiently, TotalEnergies has implemented a global crisis management system that is described in “Health and safety for everyone” section

For the sites operated by the Company exposed to the risk of accidental spills that reach the surface water, this system is supplemented by requirements of the One MAESTRO reference framework. These requirements demand that the oil spill contingency plans be regularly reviewed and tested in exercises. These plans are specific to each site and are adapted to their structure, activities and environment while complying with Company recommendations. The TotalEnergies companies can call on in-house human and material resources (Fast Oil Spill Team, FOST) and benefit from assistance agreements with the main third-party organizations specialized in the management of hydrocarbon spills.

For the oil and gas exploration and production activities, since 2014, subsea capping and subsea containment equipment that can be transported by air has been positioned at various points of the world (South Africa, Brazil, Norway and Singapore). This equipment provides access to solutions that are more readily available in the event of oil or gas blowout in deep offshore drilling operations. From these locations, the equipment can benefit TotalEnergies’ operations worldwide. This equipment was developed by a group of nine oil companies, including TotalEnergies, and is managed by Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL), a cooperative dedicated to the response to marine pollution by hydrocarbons. Since 2018, equipment to facilitate shallow water capping operations, Offset Installation Equipment (OIE), has been positioned in Trieste, Italy. Managed by OSRL, it can be transported by air or boat to anywhere in the world as necessary.

TotalEnergies has also designed and developed its own capping system (“Subsea Emergency Response System”) to stop potential blow-out in drilling or production operations as quickly as possible. Since 2015, equipment has been installed in Angola and the Republic of the Congo, covering the entire Gulf of Guinea region. The equipment was successfully deployed in exercise and live conditions in March 2019 off Nigeria.

Oil spill preparedness 2021 2020 2019
Number of sites whose risk analysis identified at least one risk of major accidental pollution to surface water 119 119(a) 128
Proportion of those sites with an operational oil spill contingency plan 100% 100% 100%
Proportion of those sites that have performed an oil spill response exercise or whose exercise was prevented following a decision by the authorities 97% 88% 85%(b)
(a) The variation in the number of sites is due to changes in scope.
(b) The 2019 value was revised in order to account only for impediments following a decision by the authorities.

Accidental liquid hydrocarbon spills

TotalEnergies monitors accidental liquid hydrocarbon spills of more than one barrel. Spills that exceed a predetermined severity threshold are reviewed on a monthly basis and annual statistics are sent to the Performance Management Committee of the Company. All spills are followed by corrective actions aimed at returning the environment to an acceptable state as quickly as possible.

Accidental liquid hydrocarbon spills of a volume of more than one barrel that affected the environment, excluding sabotage 2021 2020 2019
Number of spills 65 50 57
Total volume of spills (thousands of m³) 2,0 1,0 1,2
Total volume recovered (thousands of m³) 1,7 - -

The increase in the volume of spills between 2020 and 2021 is mainly related to a leak in a buried pipe at the Port Arthur refinery (United States).

Consult the accidental spills indicators

Limiting the environmental footprint of the Company’s activities

Liquefaction terminal

TotalEnergies implements a policy of avoiding, reducing and, where necessary, offsetting the environmental footprint of its operations.

Protection of environments

Air and water protection

The Company’s operations generate emissions into the atmosphere from combustion plants and the various conversion processes and discharges into wastewater. In addition to complying with applicable legislation, TotalEnergies has drawn up rules and guidelines that the Company’s subsidiaries can use to limit the quantities discharged. TotalEnergies has set itself targets for reducing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions and is committed to limiting its hydrocarbon discharges into water. After analysis, the exposed sites can introduce various reduction systems that include organizational measures (such as using predictive models to control peaks in SO2 emissions based on weather forecast data and the improvement of combustion process management, etc.) and technical measures (wastewater treatment plants, using low NOX burners and electrostatic scrubbers, etc.). To date, all refineries wholly owned by the Company have this type of system.

For new facilities developed by the Company, the internal rules require impact assessments to be carried out and, if necessary, actions must be taken to limit the impact of these emissions.

In 2015, SO2 emissions reached 59 kt. TotalEnergies has set itself the target of reducing its emissions by 75% in 2030 (compared to 2015), which entails not exceeding 15 kt.

Chronic emissions into the atmosphere 2021 2020 2019
SO2 emissions (in kt) 16 34 39
NOX emissions (in kt) 59 64 72
NMVOC emissions(a) (in kt) 58 69 83
(a) Non-methane volatile organic compounds.

SO2 emissions that are likely to cause acid rain are regularly checked and reduced. In 2021, SO2 emissions have significantly decreased due to the decrease in refinery activity (shutdowns, COVID-19 pandemic) and perimeter changes. Without conjunctural effects, those emissions would have reached 21 kt.

NOX emissions mainly concern the hydrocarbon exploration and production activities. They are mostly located offshore, far from the coast.

In January 2022, TotalEnergies set a new target for the quality of onshore discharge water to be achieved before 2030. Compared to the previous objective, it divides by 15 the maximum hydrocarbon content expected for these discharges. To date, 100% of the onshore sites comply with the previous objective of 15 mg/l and 80% with the new objective of 1 mg/l. Studies have been launched to improve the discharges from sites that are still not in compliance.

Discharged water quality 2021 2020 2019
Hydrocarbon content of offshore continuous water discharges (in mg/l) 13,7 12,8 13,0
% of sites that meet the target for the quality of offshore discharges (30 mg/l) 92 % 100 %(a) 100 %(a)
Hydrocarbon content of onshore continuous water discharges (in mg/l) 2,6 1,9 1,7
% of sites that meet the target for the quality of onshore discharges of goal 2010-2020: 100 % 100 % 100 %
% of sites that meet the target for the quality of onshore discharges of goal 2030: 1 mg/l 80 % - -
(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.

Soil protection

The risks of soil pollution related to TotalEnergies’ operations come mainly from accidental spills and waste storage. TotalEnergies has drawn up a guide that the subsidiaries can use to prevent and contain this pollution. The recommended approach is based on four pillars:

  • preventing leaks, by implementing, as far as possible, industry best practices in engineering, operations and transport;
  • carrying out maintenance at appropriate frequency to minimize the risk of leaks;
  • overall monitoring of the environment to identify any soil and groundwater pollution; and
  • managing any pollution from previous activities by means of containment and reduction or elimination operations.
  • In addition, a Company rule defines the following minimum requirements:
  • systematic identification of each site’s environmental and health impacts related to possible soil and groundwater contamination;
  • assessment of soil and groundwater contamination based on various factors (extent of pollution inside or outside the site’s boundaries, nature and concentrations of pollutants, presence of a vector that could allow the pollution to migrate, use of the land and groundwater in and around the site); and
  • management of health or environmental impacts identified based on the use of the site.

Lastly, decommissioned facilities operated by the Company (i.e., chemical plants, service stations, mud pits or lagoons resulting from hydrocarbon extraction operations, wasteland on the site of decommissioned refinery units, etc.) impact the landscape and may, despite all the precautions taken, be sources of chronic or accidental pollution.

In addition to the appropriate management of waste produced by the dismantling and securing of sites, TotalEnergies has created a soil and groundwater depollution policy based on the assessment and management of the risks that such pollution may incur. For the sites at the end of their activity, the management of pollution is determined in accordance with regulatory obligations with an objective of continuing to control the use of the sites while favoring the possibility of redeveloping Company activities (solar, reforestation, etc.) and protecting biodiversity (priority 3 of the biodiversity ambition presented in “Managing impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems during projects and operations” section). Remediation operations are carried out by specialized entities created by the Company. At year-end 2021, 104 industrial sites that were no longer in operation (excluding service stations) were in the process of remediation.

The Company’s provisions for the protection of the environment and site remediation are detailed in Note 12 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Sustainable use of resources

Sustainable fresh water use

The Company’s activities, mainly those of Refining & Chemicals, and to a lesser extent those of the Exploration & Production and the Integrated Gas, Renewables & Power segments, may potentially have an impact on, as well as be dependent on, water resources, particularly when the activity concerned is located in a water resources sensitive environment.

Fully aware of these challenges, TotalEnergies implements the following water risk management actions:

  • monitor water withdrawals to identify priority sensitive sites and then carry out a risk assessment;
  • improve water resources management depending on identified needs, by adapting the priority sites’ environmental management system.

In order to identify its facilities exposed to the risk of water stress, TotalEnergies records the withdrawal of water on all of its operated sites significant for this indicator and assesses these volumes on the basis of the current and future water stress indicators of the WRI(3) Aqueduct tool. In 2021, the Company’s sites withdrew 101 million m3 of fresh water, with net consumption of 75 million m3. 54% this volume was withdrawn in areas of water stress according to the WRI definition, i.e. areas where human demand for water exceeds 40% of resources available. These are mainly highly populated urban areas, such as urban areas in Northern Europe. According to the CDP Water definition, these withdrawals represent 10% of the overall Company’s water withdrawals (including brackish water and seawater). For priority sites defined as those located in water stress areas and withdrawing more than 500,000 m3 per year, TotalEnergies assesses water resources risk levels using, in particular, the Local Water Tool (LWT) for Oil & Gas from the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI). This tool also helps guide the actions taken to mitigate the risks and to make optimal use of water resources on the sites when necessary.

This risk assessment establishes that the activities of the sites operated by the Company only expose the other users of the water to a relatively low risk of water shortage. The risk mainly concerns TotalEnergies sites for which the water supply could be cut in order to maintain access to water for priority users.

In 2021, TotalEnergies responded to the CDP Water survey for the 2020 period and was, for the fourth consecutive year, graded A-. The main indicator used in this reporting is freshwater withdrawal. In January 2022, TotalEnergies has set a new target for the freshwater ressource protection for 2030. The ambition of the Company is now to reduce by 20% its freshwater withdrawal in water stress area between 2021 and 2030.

Water-related indicator 2021 2020 2019
Fresh water withdrawals excluding cooling water (million m³) 101 105 115
Fresh water consumption (million m³)(a) 75 75 -
Fresh water withdrawal in water stress area (%³) 54 52 -
(a) Indicators disclosed for 2020 with no historical data.

In early 2022, TotalEnergies joined the CEO Water Mandate, a United Nations initiative to promote access to water and sanitation for all. The CEO Water Mandate establishes five principles for the management of water resources that the Company follow through several committed actions, accompanied by a system of transparency.

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

Sustainable soil use

TotalEnergies limits the use of land to the areas it needs to safely carry out its operations on its facilities.

All the biofuels incorporated by the Company comply with the sustainability, traceability and certification criteria (ISCC, RSPO, etc.) set by the various national regulations (carbon balance, non-deforestation, good land use). These criteria apply to the entire production and distribution chain of biofuels and biopolymers. In addition, TotalEnergies has committed to no longer using palm oil from 2023 onward.

In addition, to limit the use of inputs from agricultural production, TotalEnergies has undertaken to process more than 25% of raw materials from waste and residues (used cooking oils, animal fats, etc.) in its La Mède biorefinery.

Similarly, as part of the transformation of its Grandpuits refinery into a zero-oil platform by 2024, the biofuel production plant will be supplied mainly by waste and residues supplemented by vegetable oils such as rapeseed – excluding palm oil – favoring local sourcing.

Consult the Company’s environmental indicators

Managing impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems during projects and operations

Biodiversity Discover our Commitments and actions

Aware of the need to preserve biodiversity, TotalEnergies ensures that it is taken into account in all its operations. In 2016, the Company pledged to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those relating to biodiversity. From 2018, TotalEnergies signed up to the Act4Nature initiative promoted by the French Association of Enterprises for the Environment, now act4nature international alliance.

In 2020, TotalEnergies has set itself a new biodiversity ambition to coincide with the preparation of the United Nations’ global biodiversity plan, which aims to protect global biodiversity and updates its public commitments in this field.

This ambition is based on four core principles:

Biodiversity 4 ambitions

This new ambition was incorporated in the One MAESTRO framework of the Company.

A communication plan has been developed and deployed in the Company’s various segments and R&D. A series of webinars open to all of the Company's HSE personnel was organized to raise awareness of this ambition. A number of specific meetings to present this Ambition to the Company’s partners have been held and allowed their viewpoints and recommendations to be heard.

Biodiversity Ambition

An overview of the steps already taken under the four main areas of the biodiversity ambition is provided in the table below.

1. Voluntary exclusion zones:

  • the Company has made a commitment to recognize the universal value of UNESCO’s world natural heritage sites, by not conducting oil and gas exploration or production activity in these areas.
  • TotalEnergies has also made a commitment not to conduct any exploration activity in oil fields under sea ice in the Arctic.


  • No oil or gas exploration or exploration activities in UNESCO Natural World Heritage areas
  • The Company publishes a list of its licenses in the Arctic. In 2021, the Company did not conduct any exploration activity in oil fields under sea ice in the Arctic.

2. New projects:

  • The Company has made a commitment to develop a biodiversity action plan (BAP) for any new site located in an area of interest for biodiversity, that is IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Protected areas I to IV or Ramsar areas. In addition, for each new project located in an IUCN Protected area I or II or a Ramsar area, the Company commits to implement measures to produce a net positive impact (gain) on biodiversity.


A biodiversity action plan has been put in place for all operated production sites located in the most sensitive protected areas, corresponding to the IUCN I to IV and Ramsar areas, some of which have a target of a net gain. In 2021, this concerned 8 projects, 4 Axis of which are aligned with the performance standards of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). These are:

  • The BAP for the existing oil terminal in Djeno (Republic of the Congo), located in a Ramsar area, was developed in 2015 and is continuing to be rolled out. A BAP update is planned for 2022.
  • The BAP for the existing onshore oil terminal in Tempa Rossa (Italy), for which the concession partly overlaps an IUCN II area, was developed in 2019 and is continuing to be rolled out.
  • The BAP with net gain for the Tilenga project (oil production, Uganda), partly located in an IUCN II area, is 100% complete and implementation has started. Some measures have already been taken proactively. This BAP is aligned with the performance standards of the IFC.
  • The BAP with net gain for the EACOP pipeline project (oil transportation, Tanzania), crossing an IUCN II area is under completion and implementation has started. Some measures have already been taken proactively, such as actions relating to protecting chimpanzees. This BAP has a target of a net gain and is aligned with the performance standards of the IFC.
  • The BAP with net gain of the Mozambique LNG Project (natural gas production, Mozambique) has been completed for the design phase. The implementation of measures related to construction was temporarily suspended due to security problems in the Cabo Del Gado area. This BAP is aligned with the performance standards of the IFC.
  • The BAP with net gain of the Papua LNG (natural gas production, Papua New Guinea) is currently being designed. The project does not enter any IUCN or Ramsar protected areas. This BAP is aligned with the performance standards of the IFC.
  • The BAP of the existing Helio La Perrière combined onshore wind/solar site (Reunion Island, France) is continuing as part of the site’s redevelopment.
  • The BAP of the Diyab project in the United Arabic Emirates.

3. Existing sites:

  • A biodiversity action plan will be defined by 2025 at the latest and deployed by 2030 at the latest on every existing environmentally significant site (Exploration & Production production sites, refineries, petrochemicals sites, gas-fired power stations) which is ISO14001 certified. TotalEnergies will report on its deployment to the various stakeholders.
  • When a site stops its operations, TotalEnergies is also committing to considering the development of a dedicated area rich in biodiversity (e.g. rare species habitats, biodiversity sanctuaries, etc.) as one of the options for its rehabilitation.


  • the deployment of this measure is underway. Two diagnostics were carried out in 2021 (the Pont-sur-Sambre plant in France and the marine exploration and production facilities in the Republic of the Congo). Three diagnostics are under finalisation (the Donges and Grandpuits refineries and the Bayet plant in France).
  • Regarding the creation of biodiversity-rich areas (habitats for rare species, biodiversity sanctuaries, etc.) as a rehabilitation option for sites that have ceased their activity, initial projects include the creation of a habitat for reptiles on the banks of the Garonne River and measures to conserve protected bird and amphibian species in Oberhoffen-sur-Moder, France. Approximately 10 other sites in France are being evaluated, including biodiversity surveys, and the enhancement of biodiversity, which may lead to similar initiatives.

4. Promotion of biodiversity:

  • As part of the TotalEnergies Foundation’s Climate, Coastal and Oceans program, TotalEnergies wishes to support biodiversity-related awareness programs, youth education and research actions.
  • TotalEnergies also commits to sharing biodiversity data collected as part of environmental studies on Company projects with the scientific community and the general public.


  • The TotalEnergies Foundation program supports the Polar Pod expedition which aims to study the Antarctic circumpolar current to gain a better understanding of air-ocean exchanges, to validate satellite measurements and to observe biodiversity and the impact of human activities in the Southern zone. This knowledge will be disseminated to a young audience through an educational project in collaboration with the IUCN. The TotalEnergies Foundation program also supports the work of the Tour du Valat, a non-profit foundation and research institute that has been working since the 1970s to conserve Mediterranean wetlands on a 2,700-hectare prime natural site in the Camargue.
  • In order to continue sharing its biodiversity data and tools with the scientific community, the Company has joined the international Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). In 2021, the loaded data concerned the Company's projects in South Africa, Oman, Uganda, Denmark and Argentina. The data published by TotalEnergies was downloaded more than 4,700 times and quoted about 15 times in scientific publications.
  • In addition, Oxford University in the United Kingdom (Long Term Ecology Laboratory), TotalEnergies and Equinor launched a collaboration program in 2018 with the aim of developing a tool for screening of marine biodiversity sensitivities. The tool has now been finalized and is available online for industry, the public sector and NGOs(3).

Lastly, the Company has a number of R&D programs relating to biodiversity. These include the development with UNEP WCMC(4) of a biodiversity impact indicators methodology that can be consolidated at Company level, the development of a decision-support tool for actions based on the Avoid-Reduce-Offset approach, an operational catalog for nature-based solutions, biosurveillance and monitoring tools using the environmental DNA, work on mapping areas vulnerable to climate change and opportunities offered by the Company’s sites in terms of ecological corridors.

TotalEnergies reports publicly on the implementation of these commitments (for more details see our Biodiversity brochure).

(3) LEFT Marine (Local Ecological Footprint Tool).

(4) World Conservation and Monitoring Center of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Biodiversity and the use of soils

In January 2022, the Company committed to achieve the goal of zero net deforestation for each of the new projects, on new sites, thus completing the commitments for biodiversity.

In 2021, the company operated 150 sites (with a cumulative surface area of 8860 ha) located in or bordering, within a radius of 5 kilometers, protected areas and areas rich in biodiversity(5). No site overlaps natural sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Biodiversity - Interference with sensitive areas (5)    
  Unity 2021
Sites located in one or more sensitive areas nb/ha 98/3147
of which Hydrocarbons Upstream activities  nb/ha 9/2121
of which Integrated Gas, Renewables & Power (excluding gas upstream activities) nb/ha 42/461
of which Refining & Chemicals nb/ha 6/310
of which Marketing & Services nb/ha 41/255
Sites located in or near sensitive areas nb/ha 150/8860

More specifically, the company was operating in 2021, 98 sites (with a cumulative surface area of 3147 ha) overlap protected areas and areas rich in biodiversity(5).No site overlaps natural sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO WHS natural, UNESCO MAB, Ramsar Convention wetlands, IUCN I to IV + those with categories NR (Not Reported) and NA (Not Assigned), national legislation, maritime conventions, EU Natura 2000 (Birds and Habitats Directives), KBA (Key Biodiversity Areas) and AZE areas (Alliance for Zero Extinction).

Promoting the circular economy

With regard to food waste and food poverty, TotalEnergies’ activities pertaining to food distribution are minor and are therefore not directly affected by these issues.

Promoting circular resource management

In March 2022, we joined the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE). This initiative launched by the World Economic Forum and currently hosted by the World Resources Institute (WRI) aims to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy. We are committed to doubling the circularity of our businesses over the next ten years. We contribute to the circular economy at different points of the value chain: through our purchases, our sales of our production and also the management of our own waste.


Biofuels emit over their life cycle less than 50% CO2e compared to their fossil equivalents (in accordance with European standards) and therefore represent an element of the decarbonization of liquid fuels. Our current production capacity is 500 kt/year, mainly from the Mède refinery in France. Our objective goes well beyond: 2 Mt in 2025 and 5 Mt in 2030 to be produced in a sustainable way.

Today, more than 90% of biofuels on the market are first generation, i.e. produced from (virgin) vegetable oils or sugar. TotalEnergies invests in advanced biofuel projects, based on animal fats or used oils, thus limiting the conflict of use and the impact on arable land. These advanced biofuels will complete the range of first-generation biofuels.

To meet its ambition to be a leader in the biofuels market, TotalEnergies has transformed its La Mède refinery in France into a world-class biorefinery.

The site now produces HVO (precursor to biodiesel and SAF), bionaphtha (precursor to polymers of renewable origin) and bioLPG (liquefied gas of renewable origin), for mobility or heating uses.

The agricultural raw materials used meet sustainability and traceability requirements: carbon footprint, non-deforestation and good land use. We are committed to stopping palm oil supplies from 2023 and aim to increase the proportion of waste (waste oils, animal fats) to 50% by 2025. Our future zero-oil platform at Grandpuits will also produce biofuels.


Biogas, produced from the degradation of organic waste, is a renewable gas, mainly composed of methane. Compatible with existing transport and storage infrastructures, it has a key role to play in decarbonizing gas products, reducing GHG emissions by developing a circular economy. The Company aims to produce 2 TWh/year of biomethane from 2025, and more than 5 TWh/year in 2030 worldwide. In early 2021, TotalEnergies became a major player in biogas in France through the acquisition of Fonroche Biogaz with 500 GWh of installed capacity. At the end of 2021, TotalEnergies and Clean Energy launched the construction of their first biomethane production unit, in Friona, Texas. The biomethane produced will be used as an alternative fuel for mobility, thus contributing to the decarbonization of road transport. The installation will be supplied by livestock effluent from the dairy farm and will produce more than 40 GWh/year of biomethane, avoiding 45 kt CO2e/year.

In early 2022, TotalEnergies and Veolia joined forces to recover biomethane from Veolia's waste and wastewater treatment facilities in operation in more than 15 countries, with the aim of producing up to 1.5 TWh/ year of biomethane by 2025.

Recycled plastics and bioplastics

The circular economy of plastics is based on three axes:

  • Axis 1 – Mechanical recycling, which is the most mature technology on the market. It deals with raw materials from collective sorting and collection centers and is adapted to the needs of markets such as automotive or construction. Our subsidiary Synova fits in and focuses with its 45 kt production capacity at the end of 2021 and the ambition to produce 100 kt from 2025.
  • Axis 2 – Chemical recycling makes it possible to process waste that cannot be mechanically recycled and to address other markets, such as those for plastics for food use. We now produce chemically recycled polymers on our Antwerp platform, from the TACoil produced by our partner Plastic Energy, with which we are also associated to build a production unit in Grandpuits. We have also entered into a partnership with Honeywell to promote the chemical recycling of plastics in Europe and the United States.
  • Axis 3 – Bioplastics. We offer our customers biopolymers resulting partly from the processing of fillers of biological origin (vegetable oils, used cooking oils) today transformed at the La Mède biorefinery, and tomorrow at that of Grandpuits, and partly from PLA (Poly Lactic), a 100% recycled bioplastic based on starch or sugar, recyclable and biocompostable, produced by our joint venture with Corbion today at the PLA plant in Rayong (Thailand) and tomorrow at the one under construction in Grandpuits (France).
of polymers produced from recycled materials by 2030.

In 2021, we produced 60 kt of recycled and bioplastic. Our ambition is to produce 30% recycled and biopolymers by 2030, i.e. 1 Million tons.

Waste prevention and management

A Company rule lays down a number of minimum waste management requirements. Waste management is carried out in four basic stages: waste identification (technical and regulatory); waste storage (soil protection and discharge management); waste traceability, from production through to disposal (e.g., notes, logs, statements); and waste treatment, with technical and regulatory knowledge of the relevant processes, under the site’s responsibility.

TotalEnergies asks its subsidiaries to control the processing of the waste produced by all operated sites, at every stage of their operations. This approach is based on the following four principles, listed in decreasing order of priority:

  • reducing waste at source by designing products and processes that generate as little waste as possible, as well as minimizing the quantity of waste produced by the Company’s operations;
  • reusing products for a similar purpose in order to prevent them from becoming waste;
  • recycling residual waste;
  • reusing non-recycled products wherever possible.

In 2021, the active sites operated by the TotalEnergies subsidiaries generated 500 kt of waste, including 165 kt of hazardous waste. In January 2020, TotalEnergies has set a new target to reuse waste. The former target was to reuse more than 50% of the waste produced by these sites. in 2030 the targeted performance will be 70%.

Since 2015, all the Refining & Chemicals segment’s plastic production sites worldwide have taken part in the Operation CleanSweep® program. Operation CleanSweep® is an international program that aims to avoid losses of plastic pellets during handling operations by the players in the plastics industry, to prevent their reaching the aquatic environment (zero pellet loss). Since 2015, the program has been deployed at all polymer sites in the Refining & Chemicals segment.

Additionally, TotalEnergies is a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, launched in 2019 and consisting of 80 companies in the plastics and consumer goods value chain. The Alliance’s objective is to finance, to the extent of $1.5 billion over 5 years, the development of solutions for the reduction and processing (reuse, recycling and recovery) of used plastics in the environment, particularly in the oceans. At end of 2021, 17 partnerships have already been established.

Consult the waste management indicators

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):



  • 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)

Sao Tome

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


  • 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