Total is the fifth largest publicly-traded integrated international oil and gas company, a world class chemicals manufacturer. Total operates in more than 130 countries and has 96 104 employees.

Our aim is to manage our overall footprint (environmental, economic, social, etc.) and to drive local development wherever we operate. To achieve this, we promote an approach based on dialogue and seek to build relationships that are mutually beneficial for both our activities and the countries and communities that host them.

Contributing to the social and economic development of our host countries and communities is one of the principles set out in the Total Code of Conduct. First and foremost, we fulfil our responsibility as an economic player. In 2010, we paid €10.2 billion in corporate income tax and €4.9 billion in production taxes to our host countries. We also purchased €27 billion of goods and services from roughly 50,000 active suppliers worldwide, of which €4.9 billion from French suppliers.

Total takes a constructive approach to operational transparency, dialogue and information sharing.

The public often has little idea of how much money is generated from oil and gas production and governance practices in this area vary considerably among our host countries. As a result, we are firmly committed to strict transparency and we participate actively in intergovernmental initiatives and dialogue on this issue. Ever since it was introduced in 2002, we have been a strong supporter of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which urges national authorities in resource-rich countries to publish the revenues they earn from extraction. For our part, we publish the amounts paid in income and other taxes in eight countries, with the agreement of the governments concerned. This represents 61% of our crude oil production.

Without taking the place of our host countries’ governments, we aim to contribute to the economic and social development of our stakeholders, defined as anyone affected to any degree by our operations.

Our commitment is strengthened by the fact that most of our production is located in emerging economies, which often have significant basic needs. Tailored to each specific situation, our initiatives in all our host countries are guided by this commitment, targeting three main objectives worldwide:

  • Fostering constructive relations with stakeholders.
  • Managing and reducing our negative impacts.
  • Optimizing our positive impacts.

The aim is to amplify the positive effects of our presence and foster our local integration.

We acknowledge, however, that the impact of our efforts sometimes falls short of our expectations. There is room for improvement, and to ensure progress in this area, we continue to work in partnership with host country authorities, local communities and development experts.

We know that it is by testing tools and projects, sharing and comparing experiences and enhancing our professionalism that we can continuously improve our actions for the benefit of all.

Depending on their type and location, our activities are subject to very different expectations. Our ability to identify and address these expectations is the key to our long-term integration.

Depending on their type (industrial or commercial) and their location (Europe, Africa, Asia or elsewhere), our activities have variable impacts and are subject to very different, often significant, expectations on the part of our stakeholders, whether neighbours, associations, partners or public authorities.

The development of an oil or gas project, for example, does not have the same impact on local balances in poor regions as in developed countries. Similarly, the opening of a service station may be welcomed in a rural area as a contribution to social cohesion and economic vitality, but may face opposition in an urban area.

Our integration into the local community is conditioned by our ability to identify these expectations. It is only by understanding and addressing local issues that we can ensure the long-term success of our activities. In this context, dialogue is a crucial factor and a key aspect of our approach to community development.

Our activities can sometimes disrupt fragile social and economic systems and lead to disamenities for the surrounding communities. They can also have an impact on the environment. We therefore do everything we can to more effectively identify, manage and reduce potential negative impacts and offset those that do occur in spite of our efforts. Respecting and protecting people, natural environments and property are crucial aspects of our work. We are committed to identifying and minimizing all of the disamenities caused by our plants and operations. Dialogue with our stakeholders helps us in this process.

More specifically, we are working to improve our practices and investing in protecting the health and safety of people and in reducing our impact on the physical and human environment. At the same time, we are also contributing to the implementation and support of social and economic programmes in cooperation with local authorities and communities and in accordance with their priorities. When our operations are redeployed, we make every effort to minimize the social and economic consequences and we systematically clean up and reclaim closed sites to allow the development of new activities, without putting people’s health or the environment at

In all our host countries around the world, we constantly strive to contribute to social and economic development. We work with the authorities and communities concerned, enlist the help of local development experts and ensure that the highest technical and ethical standards are applied.

Because some of our host countries have a high unemployment rate, we endeavor to do our part to stimulate job creation. This might mean hiring local candidates, offering training, purchasing local goods and services or developing the local economic base by supporting small and medium-sized businesses.

We support and implement social and economic programmes in line with the expectations of local communities. These programs focus on various issues such as access to energy, health, education and road safety. They are geared to providing neighbouring communities with the capabilities needed to organize and steer their development independently and according to their own priorities.

We work with the authorities and populations concerned and rely on the assistance of local development experts, mainly NGOs. Dialogue with our stakeholders — all of the people affected by our activities — is a fundamental resource that enables us to develop projects that benefit both our operations and our host communities.

Through dialogue, we can:

  • Identify our stakeholders and their expectations, and thus gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges concerning our mutual relationships and the impact of our operations.
  • Highlight priority projects in our mutual interest and contribute to their implementation by appropriate partners.
  • Jointly define the projects, along with the roles and responsibilities of the various parties involved.

Dialogue, though essential, can sometimes be difficult to establish, due to the diversity of the cultural and operational contexts we encounter. This is why we have been developing tools in recent years that will help us make our approach more professional and therefore more effective. We have prepared several in-house guides,  including the Local Community Guide, the Stakeholder Dialogue Guide and the Developing Local Content Guide1.

We have also deployed an internal tool, SRM+ (Stakeholder Relationship Management), to enhance the professionalism of our community development initiatives. With SRM+, site and subsidiary managers can develop a detailed map of societal issues, based primarily on dialogue with stakeholders.

The system then draws on an up-to-date list of best practices to guide the definition of a joint actions plan, optimizing the benefits for all parties. It also describes how the plan should be implemented and tracked.  Today, around 100 Total sites have mapped their stakeholders using SRM+.

Aware of the specificities of indigenous and tribal peoples, we have introduced a Charter of Principles and Guidelines Regarding Indigenous and Tribal Peoples that is consistent with the International Labour Organization’s Convention No. 169 (C169). Under this charter and in compliance with our Code of Conduct, we strive to get to know and understand the legitimate needs of the communities neighboring our subsidiaries.

Expectations regarding our activities are not the same everywhere. Our ability to identify and appropriately address these expectations determines how well integrated, successful and sustainable our activities will be. Fostering dialogue with our stakeholders is an important part of this process.

Wherever we operate, we try to establish a dialogue that is as wide-ranging and constructive as possible with a very broad array of stakeholders, who often have divergent and even conflicting expectations. This process of listening, assessing impacts and responding to expectations at every stage in our projects and throughout the operating life of our facilities is often difficult, confusing and publicly criticized.

For these reasons, we are committed to a continuous improvement process that includes:

  • Providing training to enhance the professional skills of our 370 employees involved in community issues, of which 329 on a full-time basis.
  • Tapping the expertise of NGOs. For example, the French NGO Institut de recherche et d’applications des méthodes de développement (IRAM – Institute for the Research & Application of Development Methods) has developed a specific training program on selecting, tracking and assessing local development projects. The program was deployed in our subsidiary in Nigeria in 2010 and has been offered to other subsidiaries.
  • Creating and assessing new tools tailored to each specific situation.

Our goal is to help local communities take control of their own development and future and to promote a sustainable coexistence between our industrial activities and people living and working near our operations.