More than Seventy Percent of Limited Partners (LPs) are Increasing Allocations to Sustainable Investments

October 29, 2021

HarbourVest survey results find ESG and sustainability themes are gaining momentum in private market investing

BOSTON – In a survey of global LPs by HarbourVest Partners, a global private markets asset manager, nearly three in four respondents (72 percent) said they planned to increase their allocation targets to sustainability and impact investing within the next two years.

The findings are part of HarbourVest’s 2021 ESG, Sustainability, and Impact Investing Survey of LPs. Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Seventy-six percent of respondents already consider private markets within the scope of their allocation targets and portfolio construction for sustainability and impact
  • Nineteen percent of respondents expect to include private markets in future sustainability and impact allocation targets
  • LPs remain undercommitted versus their targets for sustainable and impact investing strategies, with a nine point gap between surveyed LPs’ target allocation (21 percent), and their actual allocation to these strategies (12 percent)

“With daily reminders of the negative impacts of climate change, and the eyes of the world on our leaders as they come together for COP26, sustainability themes and impact investing are increasingly being considered as a critical part of portfolio construction for LPs,” said John Toomey, Managing Director,  HarbourVest Partners. “The fact that three out of four of our LPs are looking to increase their allocation to sustainable and impact investments shows that ESG has become top of mind for investors.“

Survey respondents included 130 LPs, ranging from public and private pensions plans to foundations and family offices. LPs surveyed had AUM ranging from just under $1 billion to $300 billion, with a median AUM of $4 billion. The survey provides insight into ESG priorities for investors, including:

  • Aligning activities with UN Sustainable Development Goals as a blueprint for impact investing;
  • And finding solutions that support the low carbon transition through investment, decarbonization and net zero trajectories.

“At HarbourVest, we are driven by the belief that strong financial returns and positive social change can be accomplished in tandem. It is tremendously encouraging to see that our survey findings reflect a similar market outlook, ” continued Toomey.

To learn more about HarbourVest’s outlook on the value of ESG to asset investors, read here.

About HarbourVest

HarbourVest is an independent, global private markets investment specialist with over 35 years of experience and more than $80 billion in assets under management, as of June 30, 2021. The Firm’s powerful global platform offers clients investment opportunities in private equity, private credit and real assets through primary fund investments, secondary investments, and direct co-investments, in commingled funds or separately managed accounts. HarbourVest has more than 700 employees, including more than 170 investment professionals across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. This global team has committed more than $48 billion to newly-formed funds, completed over $29 billion in secondary purchases, and invested over $23 billion directly in operating companies. Partnering with HarbourVest, clients have access to customized solutions, longstanding relationships, and actionable insights.

Nothing herein should be construed as a solicitation, offer, recommendation, representation of suitability, legal advice, tax advice, or endorsement of any security or investment and should not be relied upon by you in evaluating the merits of investing in HarbourVest funds or in any other investment decision. Information about the fund is not representative of any other HarbourVest fund or investment product.


Andrew Hopkins
+1 617-348-8372
[email protected]



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