Denmark’s PKA divested from five Canadian oil companies last month, bringing the total number of fossil fuel-related firms it has excluded from its investment universe to 53 in the past two years.

“It’s very difficult for many CEOs to accept things are changing, but the rules of the game are changing everyday.”

Pelle Pedersen, PKA

However, the DKK250bn pensions administrator, which runs three social and healthcare sector pension funds, said the decisions were based on the failure of the companies to offer convincing plans about how they will deal with the issue of climate change. PKA said it did not have a blanket exclusion policy based on companies’ involvement in the fossil fuel sector.

Pelle Pedersen, head of responsible investment at PKA, told IPE: “As a long term investor we have to have a nuanced approach when it comes to investment, and everything we do is combined with engagement.

“We want to know whether these companies have a long-term plan to be part of the renewable energy sector, benefiting from this new type of growth.

“Even climate-change sceptics should recognise the broad economic move towards renewable energy sources that is going on.”

PKA divested from Canadian firms Athabasca Oil, Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Imperial Oil, and Suncor Energy in March, and says it will look at whether to divest from a further 44 oil and gas companies.

Several weeks ago, PKA’s chief executive Peter Damgaard Jensen announced the firm was broadening its climate change engagement strategy – which includes mining and utilities companies with revenue linked to coal and other high-carbon energy sources – to include the oil and gas sector.

Pedersen said PKA had divested from certain coal companies after recognising that coal firms would find their business disrupted in the next decade due to new technologies.

“We asked when could that happen for the rest of the oil and gas sector,” he said. “We don’t believe it will happen tomorrow, but believe it is an important question – how these companies are preparing for this low carbon future – and we believe that this transition its taking place much faster than many believe.”

Pedersen cited France’s Total and Norway’s Statoil as two large oil companies that are making moves into renewable energy.

“It is about seeing yourself as an energy company, and being a part of a solution rather than fighting the change,” he said. “It’s very difficult for many CEOs to accept things are changing, but the rules of the game are changing everyday.”