The pensions board of the Church of England (CofE) has urged Total Energies (Total) to reconsider plans to keep hold of its Russian assets – following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Total has maintained its Russian assets, such as its 19.4 per cent stake in Novatek – Russia’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas.
This contrasts with energy giants such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil, which have announced plans to leave the country and divest from Russian holdings.
Instead Total has only announced no further investments into its established Russian projects.
The CofE’s pensions board is now weighing up its shareholdings in Total, and has written a joint letter with the Church Commissioners for England to Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanné – urging the company to rethink its stance.
In the letter, chief responsible investment officer Adam Matthews said: “As we watch the daily destruction of a democratic country by Russian aggression and the heroic defence by the Ukrainian people, it is clear that TotalEnergies’ position is incompatible with maintaining a social license to operate.”
Last month, the Church of England announced it had sold all £20m of investments in Russian companies in response to what the archbishops of Canterbury and York described as Vladimir Putin’s “act of evil” in Ukraine.
The Church Commissioners manage a £9.2bn investment fund while the pensions board manages a fund worth £3.7bn.
The size of either party’s investment in Total remains undisclosed.