Latest publications

Alice Borrello

Post-doc Researcher

Alice Borrello is a researcher at Politecnico di Milano. In 2016, she graduated in Management Engineering at Politecnico di Milano and was a visiting student at ISEG Lisbon School of Economics and Management. She has been working at TIRESIA since 2017. Received her PhD in 2022 with a thesis on the topic of Impact Investing. In 2020 she was a visiting PhD student at the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University. She is involved in projects on impact finance and impact measurement. I have tutored and lectured in the courses Management for sustainability and impact, Business in Transformation Lab and at GSOM - Graduate School of Politecnico di Milano.​

Research Topics

  • Impact investing
  • sustainable finance
  • impact measurement



Finance for impact. 2023 Italian Outlook.​

Calderini Mario, Chiodo Veronica, Boni Leonardo and Borrello Alice. 

The Italian Outlook Finance for Impact 2023 offers an updated description of the state of the art of impact finance in Italy and some reflections on its possible development trajectories. Produced by TiresiaPolitecnico di Milano in collaboration with SIA – Social Impact Agenda for Italy and with the support of Impact Europe, the Outlook consolidates and enriches the path of observation and analysis of the evolution of the Italian impact investing market, which Tiresia undertook in 2016 and of which we are now publishing the data for our country for 2022. This report comes at a time when Impact Investing is still searching for its true identity. This report is, in fact, part of the market sizing exercise that has been produced by many European countries under the guidance of Impact Europe and the Global Steering Group (GSG) for Impact Investment and the National Advisory Boards. A survey of this kind, conducted at European level, has the specific merit of introducing consistent and shared definitions of this investment class with inexhaustible potential.


Tiresia Impact Outlook 2019

Calderini Mario, Chiodo Veronica and Borrello Alice. 

The Tiresia Impact Outlook 2019 offers an updated description of the state of the art of social impact finance in Italy and some reflections on the possible development trajectories of a market with great transformative power worth 8 billion. The analysis is based on 58 structured interviews with operators on both the supply and demand sides of the capital market.


How impact investing funds invest in social‐purpose organizations: A cross‐country comparison

Bengo Irene, Borrello Alice and Micheal Moran (2023)

Impact investing funds (IIFs) are a type of investment fund that aims to achieve both financial and social goals, and they have become a valuable resource for social purpose organizations (SPOs) seeking capital. Our research evaluates the investment process by comparing approaches in two countries, Italy and Australia. We conducted semi‐structured interviews with 9 IIFs and 12 SPOs and used the Gioia Methodology to conduct the data analysis. We found both similar features and divergences. The investing process by IIFs in Australia is conservative, more risk averse and more profit‐oriented with a predominant “finance‐first” strategy. By contrast, in Italy there is a clear preference for “impact‐led” investment. We argue this illustrates a fundamental difference in investment philosophy and that IIFs in the two countries navigate, interpret, and understand the field of impact investment in contrasting ways. Finally, we contribute to the growing literature on impact investing by putting forward an “ideal” impact investment process that respects the integrity and peculiarities of the Social Impact Investment approach.

Philanthropic foundations and impact investing in Italy: challenges and opportunities

Borrello A., Cremasco C., De Pieri B. (2021)

The publication of the Tiresia Impact Insight Series, developed in collaboration with Assifero (the Italian Association of Foundations and Philanthropic Bodies), examines foundations’ and philanthropic bodies’ current commitment to impact finance, as well as the main challenges and opportunities that this commitment entails. Philanthropic organizations may play a crucial role in the impact investing market as both investors and aggregators and disseminators of best practices. However, unlike in other countries, the relationship between philanthropy and impact finance in Italy has just recently begun to grow.


Preserving the Integrity of Social Impact Investing: Towards a Distinctive Implementation Strategy

Bengo Irene, Borrello Alice and Chiodo Veronica (2021)

Social impact investing (SII) is a strategy of asset allocation that aims to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Compared to other approaches of sustainable finance it holds an enormous potential of generating solutions to societal challenges. However, scholars have claimed that social impact often just employs logic upheld by the mainstream investment approach. Therefore, the paper investigates the assumption that SII has not developed a distinctive implementation strategy able to translate the prioritization of social impact into practice and how to overcome this issue. The thematic analysis of data collected through 105 interviews with Italian SII financiers and the top managers of social ventures allowed us to identify three features of an SII tailored practice: promoting a cultural shift of intermediaries, adopting a coopetition approach, and integrating the social impact in the terms of the financial transaction. Lastly, the paper drafts a research agenda to enhance the proper theorization of SII focusing on the definition of social risk, social return, and governance mechanisms. The key contribution of this article is confirming the lack of an SII-specific practice able to endogenize the intent of prioritizing social impact and providing suggestions to prevent the risk of impact washing.