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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.

On digital media, Friedman is recognized as a thought leader; 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, was voted #4 of the "100 leading voices in CSR" by Global CEO Magazine readers, and has regularly been included among the top voices in CSR by Forbes’ Brandfog.

Friedman is author of PR 2.0: How Digital Media Can Help You Build A Sustainable Brand which outlines how companies can build brand value by taking advantage of the unique attributes of digital media to enhance build meaningful engagement with stakeholders through greater interaction and transparency. Also available on

Friedman also hosts Sound Living on an online radio station founded by Cerphe Colwell, named “Greenest DJ in America” by Earth Day Network.

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 heads corporate responsibility communications worldwide for Sodexo Group.

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

Are We Destined to Be Disappointed?

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 9:48 AM

As stakeholders, we can expect companies to be honest & truthful with us, but we cannot expect to be "first among equals"

Businesses owe their success to the fact that they are able to manage a plethora of relationships - with their employees, customers, suppliers, communities, regulators, legislators, opinion leaders,...

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VW Sales Increases Shows Limits of 'Think Globally, Act Locally'

(8) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 12:59 PM

The news that deep discounts offered by Volkswagen were enough to increase sales of their products despite the diesel emissions scandal was met with incredulity and dismay by many in the corporate responsibility and sustainability communications space. But the fact is, this is just the latest example of...

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Lessons From a Part-Time Parisian for the Climate Conference

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 5:59 PM


I love Paris. Thanks to my job I am fortunate enough to travel there several times a year. And I would like to offer a few words of advice to those attending (or planning to attend) the Climate Conference (COP 21)...

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Searching for the 'Secret Sauce'

(2) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 5:56 PM

Can we capture, identify and teach the essential lessons that make business leaders focus on corporate responsibility?

I have had the opportunity to work for and with some remarkable leaders who have focused their organizations on being 'sustainable' (or corporate responsibility) as a business model. They have recognized that...

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Five Things Sustainability Communicators Need to Give Up Now

(3) Comments | Posted September 3, 2015 | 11:09 AM

Years ago there was a famous photograph of a young girl in Sudan crawling to a feeding station with a vulture (the ultimate bird of opportunity) behind her, as if waiting for her to surrender to the inevitable. The graphic and compelling image of human suffering was haunting...

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It's Not Political Correctness, It Is Free Market Capitalism

(16) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 12:18 PM

Corporate responsibility includes raising the bar, not just toeing the line

Donald Trump certainly knows how to get headlines and attention. The billionaire businessman and reality TV star stirred up a lot of controversy with remarks he made during his announcement that he was running for president....

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Getting Wrapped Up In The Flag

(4) Comments | Posted June 24, 2015 | 11:17 AM

I can't help but thinking that all of the recent gnashing of teeth over the Confederate (actually, the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia) flying over the Capitol of South Carolina (while an important conversation) has distracted us from the larger and more important conversations that we need to have and...

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Sustainability Doesn't Need Rock Stars; We Need Unsung Heroes

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 3:34 PM

Remember the Y2K programming shortcut? That was the way that programmers shortened the year to the last two digits, with the 19__ being assumed. Then, as the year 2000 (Y2K) approached, suddenly fears erupted about everything from word processors being unable to 'auto-insert' the correct date to major...

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How Corporate Responsibility is Returning Public Relations to Its Original Meaning

(6) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 5:29 PM

I have been a practitioner for corporate communications, including public relations for more than three decades. And I have been working in corporate responsibility for the last 15 as well. In that time I have come to the conclusion that the two professions are - or will become - one...

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Would You Rather Be a 'Valued' or 'Valuable' Employee?

(1) Comments | Posted April 8, 2015 | 12:24 PM

Far from a semantic distinction companies need to consider carefully how they put into action the old management staple; "our employees are our most valuable asset."

When something is considered to be valuable it is often seen as needing to be protected, kept safe and hidden away (like precious coins...

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5 Business Lessons From Corporate Responsibility

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 11:23 AM

Corporate Responsibility or Sustainability is more than the idea of 'doing well by doing good' it is a business strategy borne of the recognition that to be - and stay - competitive in a global marketplace one needs to compete for the hearts, minds, and souls of employees as well...

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False 'News' Should Be Treated as a Dangerous and Defective Product

(2) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 12:37 PM

When a company releases a product to the market that is found to be dangerous, a recall is often a result. Sometimes lawsuits are filed, with the goal of seeking redress for lost lives, damaged property, etc. This is based on the notion that businesses are -- and ought to...

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Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie; Je Suis Frédéric

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2015 | 11:44 AM

Most of us are not Charlie. Most of us are, like my colleague Frédéric Boisseau, simply going about our regular business until fate puts us in the path of angry people who have rationalized their anti-social hostility as being justified in the name of a higher calling.

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

(1) 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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