Latest news & stories

Responding department: Ethics & Human Rights Legal Unit

Stock exchange symbol: (FP:FP)

Update 2016:

Human Rights Briefing Paper

Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?


Total has both an identified reference to the company’s human rights commitment in its Code of Conduct and a standalone human rights policy:

- The Code of Conduct serves as a common reference document for all Total employees. In 2014, it was revised to strengthen the Group’s commitment to the respect of Human Rights. In this new version, the respect of Human Rights has now become one of the three priority business principles of Total which are critical to our success as a responsible company (2014 Code of Conduct: CEO message – page 4). The Code formally recognizes that Total adheres in particular to the principles set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights as endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, in the core ILO Conventions, in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, etc.

- A Human Rights Guide was published in 2011 in order to strengthen vigilance and raise the awareness of our employees and other stakeholders on human rights issues. Built as an operational resource, the guide comprises two booklets: Booklet 1 details the Group's Human Rights policy and provides some background information on three main topics, i.e. Human Rights in the workplace, Human Rights and local communities, and Human Rights and security; Booklet 2 illustrates the day-today application of that policy through practical examples based on real-life situations, split by stakeholder category (staff, suppliers, etc.).

Our Code of Conduct and our Human Rights Guide are available on our website: [link].

For example, a supplier code of conduct that addresses working conditions, or a policy on privacy and freedom of expression. As set out in Total’s Code of Conduct (see p.15), the Group expects its suppliers to adhere and make sure that their own suppliers adhere to principles equivalent to those sets out in Total’s Code of Conduct, which are specified in the Purchasing Fundamental Business Principles (“PFA”). This document must be attached or transposed in contracts with suppliers. These PFA lay down a set of requirements deemed fundamental to the Group as regards: respecting Human Rights at work; protecting Health, Safety and Security; preventing the environment; preventing corruption, conflict of interests and fighting against fraud; respecting the competition rules law; promoting economic and social development ([link]). Total’s CEO has also recently signed up with IndustriALL Global Union a global framework agreement available on line: [link]).

Global framework agreements are negotiated between IndustriALL and multinational companies to protect the rights and working conditions of people at all stages of a multinational company’s global supply chain, including people working for suppliers and contractors.

How are human rights governed in your company?

The lead responsibility for Human Rights is given to the Ethics Committee Chairman and the Corporate Legal Department/Ethics & Human Rights Unit. The Ethics Committee Chairman reports directly to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer . The Ethics Committee is responsible for establishing conditions to help employees embrace the Code of Conduct and for making sure it is properly applied. The Ethics & Human Rights Legal Unit is part of Corporate Legal Affairs . It helps to defining and deploying the Group CSR strategy. It coordinates for consistency the ethic and legal initiatives taken at Group, Branch & subsidiary level related to CSR issues. It assists all of the Group’s operational and functional departments and business units to include and deal with issues related to ethics and human rights. In order to spell out the Group Human Rights position and initiatives, the internal Human Rights Coordination Committee, led by the Ethics Committee Chairman and the Corporate Legal Department, meets once every quarter, bringing together representatives from the corporate and business departments (Legal Affairs, Human Resources, Public Affairs, Security, Purchasing, and Sustainable Development…). After Pr Ruggie visit to our EXCOM in 2013 to present the UNGPs, Total EXCOM adopted a strategic human rights roadmap to better integrate human rights into our due diligence processes (see Document de reference – Fact Book). The implementation of this roadmap is presented annually to the EXCOM by the chairman of the ethic committee. Furthermore, the Ethics Committee's Chairman presents an annual report to our Executive Committee and Board of Directors. The Ethics Committee is responsible for creating conditions to help our employees embrace the principles of the Code of Conduct and making sure its principles are applied byeveryone in their day-today work. It is also responsible for presenting and promoting ethics policies, especially in the areas of free competition, anti-corruption and respect for human rights.  The respect of Human Rights is one of the three priority business principles of Total which are critical to our success as a responsible company (2014 Code of Conduct: CEO message – page 4).


Update 2016:

As part of the deployment of the “One Total” company project, a new organization is being implemented at Total with effect from September 1, 2016. Under the new organization, a People & Social Responsibility (PSR) Division has been created. The PSR Division is being led by an Executive Vice-President who is a member of the Group’s Executive Committee. The PSR consists of Human Resources; Health, Safety & Environment; Security; and a new Civil Society Engagement Department. The Ethics & Human Rights Legal Unit is now under the Civil Society Engagement Department within the PSR Division whilst it continues to maintain a dotted line reporting relationship with the Group Legal Department.

The new organization puts human resources and corporate social responsibility including respect for human rights at the heart of Total’s ambition. In the words of our CEO: ““The new organization will enable us to build an even more productive and efficient Total, a Group that also listens to, and welcomes dialogue with, its customers and stakeholders. Thanks to its teams, Total is a leading energy player today, and will remain so in the future. Our people are the architects of our success, which is why human resources and social engagement are cornerstones of this project and will be represented on the Executive Committee.

How are human rights managed within your company?

Linked to the United Nations’ guiding principles on business and human rights, TOTAL has adopted an holistic and integrated Human Rights approach based on several pillars:

- Written principles (Code of Conduct, Human Rights guide – see above)

- Awareness actions: to ensure that its human rights principles are disseminated in-house, TOTAL raises employee awareness via corporate communications channels such as the Ethics and Security intranet sites, four awareness-raising videos on the Group’s human rights standards., and through specific training programs tailored to the various challenges encountered in the field

- Listening and advice bodies: two dedicated bodies, the Ethics Committee and the Compliance and Social Responsibility Department, are available to advise employees and coordinate efforts to promote human rights (see above).

- Assessment tools: these are used to regularly assess the subsidiaries’ human rights practices and the risks they face. They analyze the local consequences of projects (societal audits in which local communities in certain countries are questioned on their perception of the impact of the Group’s activities on their everyday lives) or check that the subsidiaries’ ethical practices meet the Group’s standards. Most of these tools are designed to prevent or limit the ethical risks or impacts related to the Group’s activities. Some of them are used with the assistance of independent experts, such as GoodCorporation, the Danish Institute for Human Rights or the CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. Action and monitoring plans are then implemented on the basis of these assessments.

What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?

A new chapter ‘Speaking up’ has been incorporated in Total’s new Code of Conduct (see our Code p. 22), where Total encourage all of its stakeholders to raise their concerns and views concerning the implementation of its Code of conduct. An email address ([email protected]) is mentioned in our Code of Conduct and on our website  ([link]), and can be used by any interested individual. Furthermore, in addition to complying with regulations, TOTAL sets up structures for dialogue at various levels within the Group. ”. (For further information: see our registration document p. 181: [link]).

In line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a guide related to this complaints procedure was developed and published in August 2013. Other activities in Marketing & Services Branch currently test the implementation of grievance mechanisms. The objective is to widely rollout the implementation of grievance mechanisms in the Group.

Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?

Please refer to Total's human rights guide detailing three areas that are relevant to Total's operations.

Actions on 'other' issues

See our Code of Conduct and our Human Rights Guide, which sets out 3 areas that are relevant to our operations: human rights in the workplace, human rights and security, human rights and local communities.


Human rights and security: Total joined officially the VPSHR initiative in March 2012. A dedicated Group Directive and an Operational Guide have been issued. The main objective of these policies is to clarify and codify the Group’s arrangements under which security forces protecting our facilities should behave in complex contexts. Risk assessments and Trainings/raising-awareness sessions are organized for our staff and for private security companies’ employees and public security forces.

How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?

In accordance with French laws, social and environmental information is included in Total’s Registration document, in chapter 7 of the 2013 edition. The Group has decided to continue publishing an annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, to give all our stakeholders quick and easy access to information about our CSR challenges, commitments and performance. For voluntary sustainability reporting, the main reporting standards we use are: IPIECA/API/IOGP, the Global Reporting Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact’s Communication on Progress where we report at the GC-Advanced level (because Total is a member of the LEAD initiative). See: [link]. Please note that our upcoming CSR report will be issued later in 2015.

What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?

See above (speak up, grievance mechanisms, GoodCorporation ethical assessments, CDA societal assessments, SRM+, etc.) and our Registration Document 2013 (page 182) for further information


Which external and collaborative human rights initiatives does your company participate in, and what is the nature of your involvement?

To continuously improve corporate social responsibility performance through best practice and challenges sharing, we are active member of various international forums for discussion, with our peers (we co-chair the IPIECA “global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues” Social Responsibility Working Group), with other industries (Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, Shift) or multi-stakeholders initiatives (EITI, VPSHR...).

Which are the key one, two or three elements of your approach to human rights that been developed or amended since June 2011? Please indicate if these actions were in response to the UN Guiding Principles.

See above our ongoing efforts to implement grievance mechanisms for local communities across the Group

What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments?

There should be more focus on ‘Governments duty to protect Human RIghs’. The UK National Action Plan is a good and practical example to illustrate the way a Government seeks to meet its own duty to Protect Human Rights.