Contributed by Green Standards
From the October 2021 Issue

This is the project story of how General Motors avoided landfill, helped non-profits, and saved money in a giant workplace transformation. Green Standards’ partnership with General Motors has diverted 5,000+ tons of surplus furniture from landfill while making in-kind donations of more than $900,000 to nearly 100 non-profits through the sustainable decommission of multiple corporate campuses in Michigan spanning millions of square feet.

furniture reuse

Green Standards is a specialized environmental firm that works with corporations and government organizations to responsibly redistribute surplus office furniture, equipment and supplies. Inspired by the principles of the circular economy, Green Standards was founded in 2009 to solve the growing problem of office furniture waste.


The recipient of this GM project was Cody High School in Detroit, MI. The school received furniture donations and a three-room makeover. Cody High School is just one of dozens of schools that have received furniture donations through Green Standards’ work with General Motors in Michigan.

William Coleman, CFO, Detroit Community School, said, “Our schools very much needed the items that were so generously donated as it will enable us to focus more on programming. Thank you for your donation!”

The Objective. General Motors is in the process of transforming their corporate campuses and work environments to enable more collaboration among employees. They partnered with Green Standards to repurpose tens of thousands of pieces of office furniture and equipment that would no longer have a home at their headquarters, campuses, and facilities. The goal was to keep these surplus items in use through in-kind donation, to the benefit of 100 Michigan-based community organizations.

furniture reuse

furniture reuse
With planned renovations at General Motors’ Technical Center in Warren, MI; the Proving Ground in Milford, MI; and Global Headquarters in Detroit, GM required a turnkey solution provider that would expedite the decommissioning process at several locations simultaneously. (Photos: Green Standards)

The Challenge. With planned renovations at General Motors’ Technical Center in Warren; the Proving Ground in Milford; and Global Headquarters in Detroit, GM required a turnkey solution provider that would expedite the decommissioning process at several locations simultaneously.

This required the coordination with multiple stakeholders on project sites, while identifying and facilitating suitable beneficiary partners for workplace office assets that wouldn’t be resold.

“This is a project that we have a lot of passion around,” said Candice Messing, program manager, General Motors. “This is an awesome opportunity for us to make sure that we are not only benefitting the Tech Center but we’re also benefitting General Motors and strengthening the outside communities in which we operate.”

The Solution. Green Standards managed the entire process, including the dismantling, removal, and relocation of each item, and coordinating between the movers, buyers, local non-profits, and specialized recyclers. The company also provided documentation and in-depth environmental and social impact reporting to help GM capture and review the outcome of the sustainable office decommissioning projects.

The Results. Through the Green Standards program, General Motors kept 5,999 tons of surplus office furniture and equipment in use, with a landfill diversion rate of 99.9% across all project phases. To date, Green Standards has facilitated in-kind donations worth $911,920 to 89 non-profits and charitable organizations in Michigan.

With more projects ongoing with General Motors, Green Standards expect to reach and surpass its cumulative goal of $1,000,000 worth of in-kind donations to 100 non-profit beneficiaries in the coming weeks and months.

Johnathon Matthews, Principal, Cody Academy of Public Leadership, said, “General Motors and Green Standards have partnered with us to look at spaces on the campus that can be re-visualized and to see that it has a better purpose to serve the needs of our students today. In many cases, because of budget constraints we’re not able to do those beautification projects and when we are able to get these types of support systems, they fill in the gap that many times is never met.”

Learn more about General Motors’ sustainability programs here. Find out more about Green Standards at