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Who still wants to work for TotalEnergies? High school students reject the fossil fuel sector

Illustration of the mobilization against the “Eacop” project to build an oil pipeline by TotalEnergies in Uganda.

This was a few days after the announcement of a record profit of 19 billion euros for 2022 by TotalEnergies, on February 8. Perfect “timing” from the point of view of Sciences Po students. is invited to discuss with Anna Zielinska, lecturer in philosophy at the University of Lorraine, the legitimacy of the oil project “Eacop” (East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company).

This pipeline, 62% owned by the French giant TotalEnergies and approximately 1,500 kilometers long, is to link the deposits of Lake Albert, in western Uganda, to the Tanzanian coast on the Indian Ocean. A “climate bomb” according to the signatories of a column published in The world in October 2022, which would emit up to 34 million tonnes of CO2 every year for twenty-five or thirty years and “would precipitate climate change and its procession of deadly disasters”.

At Sciences Po, this political debate inaugurated an entire week, from February 13 to 18, devoted to raising students’ awareness of investments in fossil fuels and “climate bombs”. After the round table, the students of the Sciences Po environment association organized a film-debate with the broadcast of the program “Cash Investigation” from France 2 on “greenwashing” (or ecological duplicity of companies), to finish by a gathering on Place Charles-III in Nancy co-organized with Greenpeace and Les Amis de la Terre.

Pool of young talents

This type of event against the oil sector has multiplied on campuses, giving the impression of a domino effect for several months. In January, at the IEP in Strasbourg, a conference on the geopolitics of energy led by Thierry Pflimlin, marketing director of TotalEnergies and former student of the school, was canceled. Emmanuel Droit, head of the master, explained in an e-mail quoted by Rue89 Strasbourg than at “in view of the impossibility of guaranteeing a serene course of the debate, the leader of TotalEnergies preferred to cancel the debate, in agreement with the school management”.

Sciences Po students are not the only ones to shake up the French multinational. On November 28, 2022, it was at HEC Paris that an unexpected militant action took place during a recruitment forum. During these events, companies pay for their presence at the heart of the pool of young talent increasingly coveted by large groups. This is also where the popularity of certain sectors or companies is measured informally.. “As at the Book Fair, we notice every year the stands that fill up and attract young people”explains Matthieu Mazière, director of training at the Ecole des mines de Paris, who noted this year ” the side “ carbon-free energy companies.

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