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John Friedman
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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 . In 2013 he was #2 on Triple Pundit’s List of the Top 30 Sustainability Bloggers on Twitter http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/03/top-30-sustainability-bloggers-twitter/, #14 on Guardian Business’ 30 most influential sustainability voices in America http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/twitter-list-30-sustainability-voices-america 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 Ecopreneurist.com, Forbes.com, 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 “Your Backyard Is My Front Yard,” explaining the concept of 'shared fate.'

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 jtfkrf@aol.com, is @JohnFriedman on Twitter and can be connected on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Entries by John Friedman

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

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 5:46 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 | 2:01 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 | 4:02 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 | 3:08 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 | 10:56 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 | 9:28 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 | 7:32 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 | 2:35 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 | 5:05 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 | 2:37 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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Why Martin Luther King's Dream Endures (and others Die)

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

The Occupy movement appears to be losing strength and support. Certainly the media has moved away from it - perhaps a reflection more of its insatiable need to cover the 'next' thing than the movement losing steam - but it is hard to know what, if anything, is...

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My Date With a Supermodel

(7) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 8:30 AM

Test driving the Tesla S

I tried to come up with a good analogy to describe the bright red Tesla S Sedan that I took out for a drive and, the supermodel comparison came to mind - sleek, elegant, stylish and sexy with a beauty that makes it...

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When Bad Things Happen at Good Organizations

(7) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 8:48 PM

I used to think that if you simply empower people, give them the tools and make sure that they know what is expected of them, they'll rise to your expectations.

I recently found out just how wrong I was.

I came across a situation -- the details don't matter --...

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Making Sustainability 'Cool'

(17) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 12:00 PM

Sustainability suffers from a decided lack of 'coolness.' Scientists who warn about climate change are a serious lot and glaciers receding do not have the drama of, say, a zombie apocalypse. Species extinction makes a better plot device when it can be reversed and wreak havoc à la Jurassic Park.

...
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Milton Friedman Was Wrong About Corporate Social Responsibility

(26) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 8:57 AM

It happens very often when I speak about sustainability and corporate responsibility, and it happened again last week. Someone will ask me about Milton Friedman's famous quote: "There is one and only one social responsibility of business -- to increase its profits."

In fact they are misquoting and simplifying just...

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Repairing the Rift Between Businesses and the Public

(4) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 2:37 PM

When I wrote and posted my last piece, "When -- And How -- Did Business Become the Enemy" I couldn't know it would be the most engaging piece I had written to date (based on the number of comments, emails, tweets, etc.) I concluded the piece with a...

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When -- and How -- Did Business Become the Enemy?

(54) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 10:52 AM

Business has always had its critics and detractors. The unpopular actions of individual companies, e.g., onerous or unsafe working conditions or low wages, appropriately have elicited criticism for decades, including popular music literature, strikes and marches, and corrective legislation.

However, as bad as conditions are today with the...

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Putting an End to the Climate Change 'Debate'

(23) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 2:18 PM

Everyone -- even the most ardent climate change deniers -- actually knows that air pollution is bad.

I accept that for many the question of rising global temperatures and changing weather patterns remains a question. But rather than continue to debate and discuss whether or not...

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How to Build a Sustainable Economy; Not Another Bubble

(0) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 6:02 PM

I know this may not be popular, but the housing bubble is not an isolated incident, foisted on the unsuspecting public by a group of law-breaking criminals who took down our economy based on their own greed and avarice.

It is, however, the latest example (albeit a massive one)...

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Overcoming Sustainability Challenges Requires Determination

(2) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 3:27 PM

When any company or organization demonstrates its commitment to running its business in a manner that (1) benefits society (2) improves (or at least mitigates negative impacts on) the environment and is able to do so in a way that is (3) profitable, it lives the values of sustainability and,...

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