How one company made £80k for charity by donating old office furniture

ESG has become a top priority for organisations, and they are increasingly looking for ways to make their workplaces more sustainable. At IE, we have helped many clients to reduce the environmental impact of their office refurbishment projects by helping them to leverage the value of their unwanted furniture.

Brian Johnston, Operations Director at IE, explains how office furniture can be reused:

“Most high-quality office chairs will keep a residual value over their lifetime. By reusing, reselling or donating these items, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint while saving money. 

A typical task chair emits 72 kilos of CO2 over its lifespan. Giving that chair a second life will offset the carbon because you or somebody else doesn’t need to buy a new chair. And it’s not just your office chairs that can be given a second life, but desks and other items too.”

Here, we share how we helped one client, a leading global bank, to create a new, highly sustainable workplace. And how, by donating their unwanted office furniture, they could make a real difference in people’s lives while reducing their carbon footprint.

Creating a new sustainable campus

Our client wanted to revitalise an abandoned area of the city by restoring some of the historic buildings and integrating them into a new, state-of-the-art campus in Glasgow. We procured and delivered more than 7,100 pieces of furniture across three buildings, each designed with its own intent and personality. 

A fundamental part of the design process was ensuring that the campus was highly sustainable to support the company’s transition to a low-carbon economy. We helped them achieve their zero waste targets by reusing, reselling or donating their existing furniture while also minimising and recycling all waste from site. 

Since the project was completed, we have continued to support the client across a number of other workplace projects, providing design and sustainability services in addition to furniture procurement.

How we helped our client achieve their sustainability goals

We worked closely with our client throughout the procurement process from design through to delivery to ensure their sustainability targets were met:

  • The first step was helping the bank to fully understand its existing furniture portfolio to determine which items could be refurbished and rehomed and which items were at the end of their life.
  • We then cleaned and refurbished any items that needed attention before reselling or donating them to charity. Furniture items unsuitable for reuse were either recycled or disposed of ethically.
  • The new furniture that was purchased for the project was also chosen with sustainability in mind. With our extensive knowledge of the market, we were able to offer product recommendations that met both the sustainability and aesthetic requirements.
  • Finally, we worked with all suppliers to significantly reduce the amount of waste taken to site and to ensure that the small amount of waste we did produce was disposed of ethically.

The environmental impact

In total, 10,424 office furniture products, with an estimated carbon footprint of 658 tonnes of CO2, were diverted from landfill and reused, resold or donated.

In addition, by working with suppliers to change the way they package furniture items, we reduced the amount of packaging brought to site by 70%.

Assets reused, resold or donated Estimated carbon footprint
4277 task chairs 304 tonnes of CO2e
3797 office desks 251 tonnes of CO2e
2350 pedestals 103 tonnes of CO2e
Total number of products' life extended = 10,424

Total estimated carbon footprint = 658 tonnes of CO2e.

That's the equivalent of 1,161,672 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle! 


£80k donated to charity

By donating a portion of the surplus furniture, our client was able to generate £80,000 for charity. The total sum was split across four charities, each receiving around £20,000. 

The charities were:


Maggie’s is a charity providing free cancer support and information in centres across the UK and online. The money donated is enough to fund over 950 visits to a Maggie’s centre, so people with cancer can get expert psychological, practical and financial support for free. 

Scottish Autism

Scottish Autism is dedicated to enabling autistic people to lead happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. They provide a range of community-based support services, including education, day and vocational opportunities.

Charlene Tait, Deputy CEO of the charity, said of the donation:

“This is a fantastic, and most welcome, donation and we thank IE’s client and IE in their efforts contributing to our cause. This money will make a huge contribution to our ongoing work to develop and augment our community-based services and will help boost our continued efforts to support autistic people and their families.”

Alzheimer Scotland

Alzheimer Scotland supports dementia sufferers and their families through a 24-hour freephone helpline and several Dementia Resource Centres. The donation will help the charity to continue running its Dementia Café’s, Outdoor Activity groups, Football Memories groups, therapeutic services, Baking groups and Carers and Young Carers groups.

Street Soccer Scotland

Street Soccer Scotland provides free football-themed training and personal development opportunities for socially disadvantaged groups across Scotland.

Founder and CEO, David Duke MBE, said: 

"Thanks to the kind donation from IE’s client, we will be able to expand some of our adult projects in Glasgow. Now more than ever, people need access to positive relationships and support. This new funding will help change more lives through football."


By leveraging the value in their surplus furniture, our client was able to:

  • Give a second life to 10,424 office furniture products through reuse, resale or donation
  • Donate £80,000 to charity and make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of their project
  • Boost their ESG credentials
  • Save money

So, should you reuse, resell or donate your unwanted furniture?

Reusing, reselling, and donating your unwanted office furniture significantly reduces your environmental impact. And by donating your assets to charity, like our client, you can support your sustainability targets while making a real difference in the community. 

At IE, we can help you to leverage the value of your surplus furniture. If you want to see what residual value you have in your office furniture, get in touch to enquire about a furniture audit.

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