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CBRE Touts COVID-19 Response in Corporate Responsibility Report

Posted by: | Posted on: May 30, 2020

Los Angeles-based CBRE Group made public several initiatives to help its employees and give back to the communities it operates in, according to the company’s recently-published Corporate Responsibility Report.

“Our people have stepped up to help clients navigate COVID-19′s challenges and also answered the call within their communities. In addition, we organized the largest fundraising campaign in CBRE’s history, recognizing that our corporate response, like the challenge facing the world, needed to be unprecedented,” Bob Sulentic, CBRE’s president and chief executive officer, said in prepared remarks.

The efforts detailed in the report started with making it mandatory for employees to work from home. According to the report, employees at the company’s Wuhan, China office were required to work from home beginning Feb. 3. On Feb. 24, CBRE employees in Milan, Italy had to work from home and the company closed the rest of its EMEA offices by March 16. US and Canadian employees began working from home on March 13.

The company noted that it began to eliminate unnecessary expenses at the first sign of an economic downturn and before laying off people, the senior staff took pay cuts.

Despite those efforts, the report states, the company made furloughs and had to lay off some employees.

“Employees whose positions were eliminated were offered severance packages,” the report states. “For US employees who were furloughed, CBRE committed to pay both the employee-paid and employer-paid portions of the employee benefits package.”

For employees struggling because of the financial hardships surrounding the pandemic, CBRE created the CBRE Employee Resilience Fund. The company made a $5 million donation into the fund and the rest of the money was raised through employee fundraising efforts.  Two types of assistance were made available: the Immediate Response Program provides $500 grants for food and other immediate needs, while the Hardship Relief Program provides up to $2,500 for larger expenses such as rent, childcare, healthcare and funeral expenses.

The company also created the CBRE Matching Gift Program, which matched employee donations to non-profit organizations up to $500 per employee.

“At the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, employees continued to use this matching gift program to support local shelters and rescue missions aiding at-risk populations,” the report states.

The local chapters of CBRE Cares, the company’s volunteer program, continued to fundraise for support local charities.

“For example, CBRE Cares Chicago gathered donations for Chicago’s Community Outreach Pet Food Pantry and Emergency Relief Programs,” the report states.

The families who received that relief “fell into the category of the population most at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.”

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