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15 Apr 2024

Marta Pacheco, Euro News

Mozambique: TotalEnergies' intended resumption of natural gas extraction risks falling foul of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive says NGO

‘TotalEnergies return to Africa would rock CSDDD, claim NGOs’ 10 April 2024

French multinational TotalEnergies' intended resumption of natural gas extraction in Mozambique risks falling foul of the EU's nascent Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, NGOs have claimed. After a terror attack in 2021 killed at least 801 people in northern Mozambique, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), energy majors TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil and Eni terminated operations in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado region. However, during a presentation of TotalEnergies’ 2023 annual results held in February, CEO Patrick Pouyanné said it intended to resume operations in the southern African country this year.

NGO Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said TotalEnergies’ intention to “ignore” the fact of the region's vulnerability to conflict and violence to restart its gas projects in Mozambique is “alarming” and referred back to the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). “The law would require the fossil giant to assess its operations in a high-risk context like in Cabo Delgado and align with human rights obligations and a climate transition plan,” Jennifer Kwao told Euronews, adding the CSDDD would also give Mozambicans in the region access to justice. “Reports from civil society and ongoing lawsuits already suggest that TotalEnergies would not be compliant with the CSDDD and is prioritising its profits above all,” said Kwao.

…Expected to be rubber-stamped by the European Parliament on April 24, the CSDDD should increase the take-up of international standards in developing countries as well as improve the living conditions of people in these countries. Obligations under the CSDDD will be phased in from three years after its entry into force, around 2027, to five years after its entry into force, around 2029. They will apply to EU companies with more than 1,000 employees and a net worldwide turnover of more than €450m and to non-EU companies with a net turnover of more than €450m in the EU. The CSDDD will oblige EU countries to implement “effective, proportionate, and dissuasive” penalties for non-compliance, including maximum fines of at least 5% of the company’s net worldwide turnover.