Human Rights

Human Rights

The main challenges associated with the effects of the Company’s activities in terms of respect for human rights have been identified using the methodology set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights (UNGP) Reporting Framework relating to the “salient issues”, that is to say, the human rights at risk of the most severe negative impact through the Company’s activities or business relationships.

On this basis, the Company identified six salient risks subdivided across three key areas:

  • human rights in the workplace of TotalEnergies’ employees as well as of the employees of its suppliers and other business partners:
    • forced labor and child labor;
    • discrimination;
    • just and favorable conditions of work and safety.
  • human rights and local communities:
    • access to land;
    • the right to health and an adequate standard of living.
  • respect for human rights in security-related activities:
    • the risk of misuse of force

Strong commitments

Total Energies’ human rights approach is based on strong and formalized commitments. It is supported by a dedicated organization, and embedded in an awareness-raising and training program, as well as evaluation and follow-up mechanisms aiming at measuring the effectiveness of the Company’s actions.

TotalEnergies is committed in particular to respecting internationally recognized human rights and standards, wherever the Company operates, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fundamental Conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises and the (VPSHR).

In 2016, the Company published a Human Rights Briefing Pape in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. Consult the 2018 publication on this website. TotalEnergies was then the first company in the oil and gas industry to do this.

A dedicated organization

The human rights road map, developed with the various concerned business segments and divisions of the Company, is regularly presented to the Executive Committee in order to support the ongoing efforts to implement the Code of Conduct and to respect human rights.

The Human Rights Steering Committee monitors the implementation of this road map. It is chaired by the Company’s President, Sustainability & Climate. The committee includes representatives of each business segment and of the main functional divisions that have a role related to human rights. It meets four times a year and coordinates the actions taken internally and externally by the various Company entities.

The Human Rights department in the Sustainability & Climate Division coordinates the analysis of the Company’s human rights risks, supports operational teams and supervises the actions to promote respect for human rights, in close collaboration with the Ethics Committee and in accordance with the Company’s Code of Conduct.

The Ethics Committee is where representatives of all TotalEnergies’ business segments sit. Its key role is one of listening and support. Employees, but also people from outside the Company, can contact the committee at the address The Committee protects the confidentiality of the complaints, which can only be lifted with the agreement of the complainant. The Chairwoman of the Ethics Committee presents an annual report on the Committee’s ethics-related activities to the Governance and Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors. In 2021, the Ethics Committee received close to 140 reports (internal, external, anonymous) regarding compliance with the Code of Conduct, close to 60% of those reports were about questions related to human resources. All received reports are addressed and, when necessary, recommendations are made in order to lead to the implementation of corrective actions.

The Human Rights Department and the Ethics Committee rely on the network of more than 100 Ethics officers across the countries in which the Company operates. They are in charge of promoting the values set out in the Code of Conduct among employees working at subsidiaries and ensuring that the Company’s commitments are correctly implemented at a local level.

Awareness raising and training

In order to disseminate the Company’s commitments, TotalEnergies raises its employees’ awareness via internal communication channels such as intranet sites or events such as Business Ethics Day, which is held each year (headquarters and subsidiaries). In 2021, Business Ethics Day was held on December 9. Train to Speak Up was the theme chosen in 2021 to reinforce the culture of dialogue within the Company. A live chat accessible to employees was organized with the President of Gas, Renewables & Power, the Chair of the Ethics Committee, the Chief Compliance Officer and the President of Sustainability & Climate.

In addition to the Code of Conduct, the Company also publishes a Human Rights Guide. that is made available to its employees and the stakeholders. This guide specifies the behaviors to be adopted in the activities and relationships with stakeholders. The Company also has a practical guide to dealing with religious questions within the Company. These guides are available on the dedicated human rights intranet site and are distributed at the various training courses and during the Business Ethics Day.

A Human Rights training plan, developed in 2020, aims to promote the development of a culture of respect for human rights within the Company, to better manage the associated risks, and to upskill all employees, so that they become agents of change in the long term. This plan has been rolled out as a priority among categories of employees who are most exposed to human rights risks and the decision-makers within the Company.

As part of this plan, several training sessions were organized in 2021:

For all employees:

  • An online module on human rights in the workplace with a focus on respecting the ILO’s core conventions has been accessible to all employees since 2019 in all countries in which TotalEnergies operates. It is available so far in five languages. More than 35,000 management-level employees (job level 10 or higher) had taken this module at year-end 2021;
  • An online module on human rights in the workplace with a focus on respecting the ILO’s core conventions has been accessible to all employees since 2019 in all countries in which TotalEnergies operates. It is available so far in five languages. More than 35,000 management-level employees (job level 10 or higher) had taken this module at year-end 2021;

For target groups:

Other specific training programs tailored to issues encountered on the ground were held throughout 2021, in particular:

  • Annual training in ethics and human rights for newly appointed senior executives;
  • A second session to raise awareness about crisis communications and management in relation to human rights, organized in partnership with the NGO SHIFT, for functions that are regularly involved in managing crises at headquarters (Communications, Public Affairs, Legal and Sustainability);
  • A webinar on the respect for human rights in the context of joint-ventures was held for employees in charge of managing participations in the Exploration & Production segment. It brought together 90 participants from around the world;
  • An online training course on the salient risks and human rights issues in the Marketing & Services segment. Several online sessions were conducted in French and English and 60 employees (zone managers, network managers, network inspectors, etc.) representing some 60 countries attended.

In addition, representatives of the Human Rights department regularly participate in external events with other companies and institutional players to share experiences and best practices in this area.


In addition to the audits and assistance missions carried out by the Audit and Internal Control Division, which cover certain human rights-related issues, the ethics and human rights-related practices of TotalEnergies’ entities are regularly assessed by independent third parties and qualified experts.

The British company GoodCorporation has assessed more than 140 entities since 2002 with regard to the principles and values enshrined in the Code of Conduct.

The entities are identified in particular according to the level of the risk of human rights violations in each country, the number of alerts received the previous year and the date of the subsidiary’s last assessment. These assessments help identify best practices, share them in the Company and identify areas for improvement. Knowledge and appropriation of the Code of Conduct are tested and reinforced by ethics and human rights awareness-raising sessions. Employees are encouraged to voice their ethical concerns in a confidential manner and report behaviors potentially contrary to the Code of Conduct. These assessments confirmed that the Code of Conduct has been taken on board by employees.

The ethics and human rights assessments are systematically followed up by action plans within 12 months.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethics and human rights assessments were conducted in 2020 in Madagascar and in Pau (France), and, in 2021, in Kenya and Poland (covering 517 employees for those two entities).

Action plans implemented following the assessments carried out in 2019 and 2020 in subsidiaries in Brazil, Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria, Madagascar and Russia (Vostok) were followed up in 2020 and 2021. It is planned to follow up the action plan at Pau’s site in 2022.

In addition, TotalEnergies Global Procurement (TGP) rolls out a supplier qualification process (described in “Supply chain” section), which includes an ethics and human rights dimension. A system for the assessment of suppliers by a third-party expert has also been set up on the basis of criteria that measure respect for Human Rights.

Standalone human rights impact assessments may also be conducted in addition to the environmental and societal impact assessments in high-risk areas or conflict zones with the support of independent experts. For example, regarding the Tilenga and EACOP projects, in order to address the potential impact of the projects on human rights, TotalEnergies launched in 2016 a human rights risk and impact assessment through societal and environmental studies. Those studies were approved by the authorities in 2019 for Tilenga and the Tanzanian part of EACOP, and in 2021 for its Ugandan part. Based on the recommendations of these reports, TotalEnergies decided to carry out specific human rights impact assessments in parallel with the approval process for societal and environmental impact assessments. This specific human rights impact assessments of the EACOP project was published in September 2018. The specific human rights impact assessment on the Tilenga project was carried out in 2021 and will be published in 2022.