Over 80% of carbon emissions come from energy consumption, so the big challenge for Total and other energy companies is to reduce emissions while meeting global demand and providing broad access to affordable power. That requires a mix of solutions, including adapting the energy mix and investing in carbon sinks.
In 2019, Total set up a business unit focused on nature-based solutions (NBS). The unit has an annual budget of $100 million to invest in natural carbon sink projects around the world – both protecting old growth and virgin forests, and planting new ones. In March 2021, Total announced a partnership with French consultants Forêt Ressources Management, to finance a project to plant a 40,000-hectare forest in the Republic of the Congo.
Over a 20-year period, this new carbon sink will be capable of sequestering more than ten million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The forest will be connected to a local agricultural value chain to help ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.
Total’s NBS group aims to reach a sustainable carbon storage capacity of 5 million tonnes per year by 2030, and the company is committed to developing natural carbon sinks in Africa and around the world. The Congo’s Batéké Plateaux alone has more than 10 million hectares of land reserves, representing opportunities for both sustainable socio-economic development and climate change mitigation.