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John Friedman
John Friedman is an award-winning communications professional and recognized sustainability expert with more than 20 years of experience as both an external and internal sustainability leader, helping companies, ranging from small companies to leading global enterprises, turn their values into successful business models by integrating their environmental, social, and economic aspirations into their cultures and business practices.

Friedman’s background includes developing and implementing effective and award-winning programs that maximize stakeholder engagement, community relations, organizational development, change management, and strategic philanthropy.

On social media, Friedman is recognized as a sustainability thought leader; #2 on Triple Pundit’s List of the Top 30 Sustainability Bloggers on Twitter,#3 on GreenBiz list of most influential 'twitterati', #14 on Guardian Business’ 30 most influential sustainability voices in America, one of the 100 leading voices in CSR by Global CEO Magazine, and has regularly been included among the top voices in CSR by Forbes’ Brandfog. His insights on sustainability issues and strategy have been a regular feature on SustainableBrands since 2008 and have appeared on,, Vaultcareers, and JustMeans.

Friedman authored the e-publication The New PR which outlines how companies must modify the way they communicate to meet stakeholders' changing expectations through five proven keys for developing programs that replace "spin" with transparency and unlock the full potential of a sustainability program to build reputational capital.

In addition to providing several chapters that have appeared in PR News' "Best Practices in Corporate Social Responsibility and Green PR” and “Employee Communications Guidebook,” Friedman is currently working on a new book “PR 2.0,” explaining how to communicate authentically using digital media.

An Albany State (New York) communications graduate, Friedman earned a management certificate as part of the Lafarge/Duke Management Training program at the Fuqua School of Business in 2000.

Friedman is a co-founder and served in a leadership capacity on the board, executive committee and as board chair for the Sustainable Business Network of Washington (SBNOW) from 2003 until 2012. Friedman also heads corporate responsibility communications worldwide for Sodexo.

Organizational affiliations are for transparency purposes only; the opinions expressed are the author’s personal opinions and do not reflect those of any organization.

He can be reached at, is @JohnFriedman on Twitter and can be connected on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Entries by John Friedman

The "Circular" Economy - What it Is, and Why it Is Important

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 2:06 PM

Let's assume you're traveling at a set speed on a very, very long road, but one that does have an end. Assuming nothing else changes, you will eventually get to the end of the road. At that point, there is nowhere else to go.

That is how a linear...

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Writing Capitalism's New Chapter

(2) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 2:55 PM

In boardrooms and executive suites around the world, business leaders - those people who are truly leading and not just managing their companies - are writing a new chapter of capitalism. The new chapter seeks to preserve (and expand) the gains in quality of life, longevity, health and well-being and...

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2014: Marching Forward

(2) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 3:12 PM

As 2014 winds down I thought I would look at the biggest trends during the last calendar year.

For me the most important accomplishment of the peoples' climate marches around the world was the large number of business leaders (along with usual and predictable politicians and celebrities) who were...

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Can Parking Help Save Paradise?

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 2:17 PM

In 1970 Joni Mitchell released the haunting "Big Yellow Taxi" including the famous lyric: "They paved paradise to put up a parking lot." Since then the song has continued to resonate with people and has been covered by a range of artists including Bob Dylan, Amy Grant and Counting Crows.

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Authenticity Offers Its Own Beauty

(3) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 4:24 PM

Authenticity is what turns a pretty picture into a priceless work of art. Likewise it is what people look for -- or should -- in their personal relationships.

I believe this holds true for our relationships with businesses as well; whether as consumers or employees, members of the community, or...

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If Business Leads, Will Consumers Follow?

(1) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 9:45 AM

Let me start with a caveat -- I first met Andrew Winston on the book tour for Green to Gold and have peripherally been connected with him over the last eight years. Since that best-selling book, a lot has changed in our world and our understanding of the issues it...

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In Truth There Is Beauty

(2) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 7:07 PM

When William Shakespeare wrote "This above all, to thine own self be true" (Hamlet) he wasn't offering business advice and he would likely have been skeptical that it might be cited as such more than 400 years later. But in an era when transparency and authenticity are increasingly critical, it...

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They're Not Buying It -- Because They're Not Buying It

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 3:58 PM

It is a familiar lament of companies wishing to find a market for environmentally and socially responsible (such as fair trade) goods -- the majority of consumers simply will not pay a premium for these items.

However there is a huge market out there among for these goods (and...

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Science Is Not a Popularity Contest

(6) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 2:55 PM

The interesting thing about science is that it is not about public opinion or even popular consensus. Scientific discoveries, even those that are unpopular, have a history of being borne out over time.

A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired...

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(1) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 6:54 PM

The mass abduction of schoolgirls by militant Islamist group Boko Haram has taken depravity to a new low, and people are rallying behind the cause with the social media campaign #bringbackourgirls which is closing in on a million tweets, including First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Global social media...

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Business Accountability: Is it time for 'Because We Said We Would?'

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 6:46 PM

I recently met, and had dinner with Alex Sheen. While his name may not be familiar, the social movement and nonprofit organization he created 'because I said I would' has been getting a lot of attention. Perhaps you've heard of the man who determined to write

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CSR 2.0: Prescription for a Better Future

(1) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 3:01 PM

In my last blog I explored the shortcomings of the current model of Capitalism with CSR thought-leader Dr. Wayne Visser. Today I look at how CSR can evolve to address these shortcomings so that the benefits can be shared more universally and without exhausting our natural resources in...

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Reality Check: Our Progress Has Come at an Unsustainable Price

(2) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 5:02 PM

At the World Economic Forum in Davos Bill Gates, made the point: (also stated in his annual letter for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation): "By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives." He also points out...

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Smoke & Mirrors

(1) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 4:08 PM

CVS's decision to stop selling tobacco products reflects well on them, but what will it reveal about ourselves?

The decision of CVS to voluntarily forgo the sales -- and profits associated with selling a legal product (tobacco) that has millions of customers has justifiably gotten a great deal of...

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Your Competitors Don't Matter

(1) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 11:56 AM

When it comes to corporate responsibility, you are competing with everyone.

Comparing against "the best" outside of traditional competitors is nothing new. Companies often look beyond their own industries for best practices -- such as the customer service approach of a Starbucks or Southwest Airlines could be applied to any...

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2013: Wasting Too Many Chances to Be More Sustainable

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 10:28 AM

Each year as the calendar winds down and we prepare to "turn the page" to a fresh, clean new one, people reflect on the year just ended and make themselves -- and others -- promises to address their perceived weaknesses, lose weight, be more financially responsible, quit bad habits, etc....

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Casting Off Chains, Enhancing Freedom of Others: The Legacy of Nelson Mandela

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 8:32 PM

The images on the desktop of your computer are not icons. The prophets were icons. The great moral leaders of the 20th century -- people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and like Mother Teresa -- were icons.

And in that vaunted stratosphere of people who elevate the human...

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You Had Me At...

(2) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 3:35 PM

It often is not as simple as "hello" but very often the right thing, at the right time, can cement loyalty between a boss and his or her subordinate.

Far too many people have stories about things bosses said that instantly destroyed their relationship (even if the employee...

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Things Bosses Shouldn't Say... But Do

(7) Comments | Posted October 22, 2013 | 6:05 PM

Supervisors may underestimate the power of their words on employees' morale, loyalty, and engagement.

We have all heard stories of the truly egregious things that supervisors have said (and done) to subordinates that make us wonder how they were ever put in a position of authority. In cases like intimidation,...

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Woe Is Us (and It Shouldn't Be)

(5) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 3:37 PM

Maybe it is the shorter days. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it is the gridlock in Congress that has shut down portions of the government and, shamefully, put 800,000 people out of work (with the promise of back pay one day) and threatens that the U.S. will default...

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