Corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects need to be innovative and driven by HR if they are to succeed, according to a report by leading independent think-tank Demos.
The report, Getting down to business, finds that CSR programmes should link with core business objectives and involve key employees.
The report's author Rachel Judd said: "Project champions need to be identified among the senior hierarchy of companies, with responsibility for ensuring that CSR is not left out on a limb or confined only to the public affairs department."
"[HR departments can] produce effective, innovative responses to social problems in ways which allow the solutions to be taken up more widely."
Judd called on companies to experiment and develop new approaches to embracing CSR.
"The real corporate social responsibility is to innovate. This approach to innovation should draw on the experience of senior employees, but also has the potential to feed back into the business itself," she added.
The report finds that successful CSR projects are used as a chance for staff development and need significant investment in terms of money and expertise drawn from the core business.