PARIS (Reuters) – Greenpeace and two other civil society groups have filed a complaint with a Paris prosecutor against Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of energy giant Total, alleging he abused his role on the board of a university to push the company’s agenda.
The board of the prestigious “Ecole Polytechnique” voted in 2020 to allow Total to build a research and innovation centre on the university’s campus in Saclay, south of Paris.
The complaint alleged that Pouyanné used his position on the university’s board to influence that decision. The prosecutor’s office has not said if it will take up the complaint.
Total said in a statement Pouyanné had never taken part in decisions by the university board concerning Total and that he recused himself when the topic came up.
The complaint was filed by the French arm of Greenpeace, as well as by anti-corruption group ANTICOR, and an association called La Sphinx, which says it represents students and alumni of the university.
Total, along with other major energy producers, has been under intense scrutiny from green groups that say the energy industry is adding to climate change by promoting the use of carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels.
“We ask the prosecutor to investigate whether Pouyanné abused his power to force Total’s fossil fuels agenda on a public education institution,” Edina Ifticène, oil campaigner at Greenpeace France, said.
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Christian Lowe; editing by Barbara Lewis)