Dutch pension fund ABP, one of the world's largest, will divest 15 billion euros ($17.5 billion) of investments in fossil fuel producers by 2023, it said on Tuesday, citing concern over global warming.
After the planned sale, which represents 3 percent of the fund's total assets, ABP intends to increase investment in renewable energy where possible, chair Corien Wortmann said in a statement.
The decision ahead of next week's COP26 United Nations climate conference marks a major turnaround for the civil servants' fund, which has 528 billion euros in assets under management.
Wortmann had said as recently as June that exiting fossil fuel investments was "not the solution" to global warming, despite pressure from environmental activists and a growing number of the fund's own participants.
Announcing Tuesday's decision she cited concerns of fund participants and their employers.
"The ABP Board sees the need and urgency for a change of course," she said. "We (are parting) with our investments in fossil fuel producers because we see insufficient opportunity for us as a shareholder to push for the necessary, significant acceleration of the energy transition at these companies."
She said that in the future the fund would focus on engagement with large consumers of fossil fuel such as electricity companies, the automobile industry and aviation industry.
"Using our influence as a shareholder, ABP will encourage companies that use fossil fuels to become more sustainable."
The fund said it did not expect the decision to affect its long-term returns.