Denmark’s AkademikerPension announced it is blacklisting over 200 utility companies, saying it is now implementing last year’s decision to exclude utility companies where more than 25% of the energy mix comes from thermal coal.

The move will see it selling off an expected DKK620m (€83.3m) of holdings, according to yesterday’s announcement, with the pension fund – whose members include upper secondary school teachers – adding that it would complete divestments by the end of this month.

Jens Munch Holst, chief executive officer of AkademikerPension, said: “The goals of the Paris agreement require a rapid phasing out of coal, and therefore we believe that companies that are large consumers of coal pose a return risk for us as long-term investors.”

He said exclusions from his pension fund and from other investors could help to put pressure on companies to start living up to the goals of the Paris agreement, so it was the firm’s responsibility to do so.

Among the utility divestments the Danish pension fund is making is the sale of DKK250m of securities issued by South Africa’s Eskom, and DKK34m of investments in US energy firm NRG.

In addition, the pension fund said it was giving six firms that exceeded its 25% coal limit more time, because there were signs they were in the process of restructuring to be more Paris-compatible.

The list of companies being given a year to demonstrate progress includes South-Dakota utility Northwestern Corporation, and Germany’s RWE.

AkademikerPension also said it had “acquitted” more than 300 companies examined – including Danish energy firm and wind farm developer Ørsted and Spain’s Iberdrola – because the share of coal in their energy mix was below 25% and they had no plans to expand coal capacity.

Munch Holst said the divestments would be good for the pension fund’s returns, and contributed to the achievement of its updated climate goals: “For example, I expect a significant reduction in our CO2 emissions when we calculate it for the year 2022,” he said.

Earlier this week, the CEO announced AkademikerPension would immediately exclude Russian government bonds and shares in Russian state-controlled companies if the country invaded or attacked neighbouring Ukraine, responding to the increasingly tense situation on the border.

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