“What do we do about these large plants; they’re still alive. We can’t just toss them. These TVs? These standing desks? What about all of this furniture? It seems wasteful to just throw it all away. Someone has to want it, but who?”
It’s not just letting go of an address that you’ve occupied for years that can bring on anxiety, but also throwing out its contents can be equally as difficult. And, it’s not that, as a company, you’ve become so attached to these things that you can’t let go; it’s that you decided over a decade ago to make conscious efforts to be socially responsible. Though most of C+R’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives have been manifested through our involvement with youth, we are very conscious about our obligation to our environment as well. So, when we made the decision to relocate from the Magnificent Mile here in Chicago to the iconic Crain Communications building a few blocks south, we also made a decision to repurpose as much of the contents we would be leaving behind as possible.
“Stick” and “Fic” Find a New Home
First up--the plants. . . we had two large plants that had been part of the C+R family for a number of years—one large rubber tree that one of our male partners nurtured from just a tiny little thing to an over-5-foot tall beauty who we affectionately named “Stick!” And then there was our other baby, “Fic,” a ficus tree. Through plantswap.org, a non-profit project with a simple goal to “make the world greener by providing a platform that connects people around a shared love of plants,” we were able to donate these plants to a home where they would continue to receive the TLC they’d gotten from our C+R staff. It warmed our hearts to see how excited the recipient was about having been chosen to receive them, “Perfect! They are going in my home. I already have a nice new big pot that is empty and waiting in my dining room.” (Lucky Recipient of two plants)
TVs, Microwaves and Standing Desks
A good number of our employees are Millenials, many of whom are just starting out in their research careers. With new apartments and the adjustments they’re making to “adulting,” we were happy to gift the flat screen televisions from our meeting rooms to five lucky employees, along with also giving microwave ovens to a couple of employees. We were also able to contribute to the creation of a more ergonomic environment for a brokerage firm in the Chicago area by donating about a dozen height-adjustable standing desks to their employees. But the most challenging repurposing was still to come.
What Do We Do With All of This Furniture?
With over 100 employees, C+R had quite a bit of furniture that we were hoping to donate for reuse—workstations, conference room tables, etc. In that vein, we contracted a decommissioning team, to help us with finding a place that could benefit from the furniture that we no longer needed. They truly came through—not only did they find one place; they found two! We were thrilled to learn that the Illinois State Police and the Cook County Sheriff’s office would love to have the furniture that we no longer needed, and they that they felt it would be useful in upgrading the look of their offices.
In the end, we accomplished our mission to be socially responsible and made a lot of people very happy. And, equally as important was that no unnecessary contributions to a landfill were made.
“Illinois State Police Zone 4 Investigations in Peoria, Illinois were able to reuse your donated furniture to replace broken and unfashionable chairs, desks, and tables at each office location. We would not have been able to accomplish this without your generosity.” (Administrative Officer)
While we’re still settling into our new space and basking in the excitement of exploring our new Chicago Loop location, we can take a quick glimpse back at our past and smile that it has brought so much joy to others’ present. Here at C+R, we do believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to be socially responsible. We treasure our ability to do so as a corporation. The benefit to engaging in such initiatives is a reciprocal one. Today, as we find ourselves in the midst of a time to give thanks and a season of giving, we thought this a good time to encourage social responsibility now and throughout the entire year.