“It’s time to drive TotalEnergies out of our stadiums”: the first CAN sponsor targeted by climate defenders

Even in African stadiums, TotalEnergies is no longer safe from criticism

“It’s time to drive TotalEnergies out of our stadiums”: the first CAN sponsor targeted by climate defenders

Even in African stadiums, TotalEnergies is no longer safe from criticism. First sponsor of the African Cup of Nations (CAN), the 34th edition of which opened on Saturday January 13 in Abidjan, the multinational is being slammed by Senegalese rappers Xuman and Keyti ​​in a 4-minute clip posted online on the 12 January and already viewed tens of thousands of times on YouTube. The two artists play sports commentators in a parody of a football match opposing, on one side, the team of oil companies Oil United and, on the other, that of climate defenders Green United.

The creators of the Rappé Television Journal (JTR) are taking advantage of the pan-African competition, this year called CAN TotalEnergies, to denounce the activities of the oil group and plead in favor of an end to the exploitation of fossil fuels on the continent. “We like football, not polluters” chant the rappers as images flash from Uganda, where Total is at the head of a megaproject often described as a “climate bomb” with its 1,500 kilometer long oil pipeline 'in Tanzania and its approximately 100,000 displaced people.

The video is part of a campaign launched by Greenpeace Africa and the Kick Polluters Out coalition which stood out for its actions against the fossil fuel lobby during the latest United Nations climate conferences (COP). “Science says we need to move away from fossil fuels to clean energy. But Total continues to displace communities for new oil drilling and spew greenhouse gases before shipping its massive profits to Europe. Total is transforming the CAN, a celebration of African unity, into a grotesque greenwashing operation. It’s time to drive TotalEnergies out of our stadiums,” asks Thandile Chinyavanhu, Greenpeace Africa campaign manager.

Present in around forty countries in Africa

The partnership between the sports federation and the French major was sealed for eight years in 2016. In addition to the CAN, it also covers interclub competitions such as the Champions League, the Super Cup or the Women's CAN, guaranteeing the visibility of the multinational on more than 1,500 matches. “The scale of this operation and its duration reflect Total's strong roots in Africa where it is the leading oil major,” the group welcomed at the time in a press release announcing the signing of the CONTRACT. The company carries out 30% of its hydrocarbon production on the continent and is present in around forty countries.

But in recent years, its projects in Uganda, Mozambique and even South Africa have become the target of climate activists and human rights defenders who, through their calls, also intend to place African leaders face to face with their responsibility to regard for future generations.

Questioned by Le Monde, TotalEnergies refutes the accusations of greenwashing and specifies that this partnership aims “to publicize the multi-energy dimension of its activities and its ambition to be a major player in the energy transition committed to carbon neutrality in 2050 ". It also aims, according to the company, “to bring together its [10,000] employees” on the continent. CAF did not respond to our requests.