Gil Friend

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Gil Friend (born March 4, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York) is a business consultant, author, system ecologist, and strategist in sustainable business, clean technology, and communications. He is widely considered one of the founders of the sustainability movement, and was named by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) to their first Sustainability Hall of Fame,[1] acknowledging “those people that have contributed the most to the emerging field of sustainability” (along with Ray Anderson, Amory Lovins, Karl-Henrik Robert and Bob Willard).


Friend holds an M.S. degree in Systems Ecology from Antioch University, has a black belt in Aikido, and is a seasoned practitioner of “The Natural Step” environmental management system.[2]


Friend is author (with Benjamin Privitt and Nicholas Kordesch) of the 2009 book, "The Truth About Green Business" (FT Press), providing a business handbook for sustainability strategy and implementation, as well as an audiobook version, "The Green Business Field Guide," released in 2013.

He is coauthor of "Biofuels Development and Soil Productivity" (1982); and has contributed chapters to several books, including "Worldchanging: A User’s Guide to the 21st Century", "Sustainable Enterprise Report", "Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook", "Sustainable Food Systems", and "Stepping Stones".

From 1992 through 1998, he wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate entitled The New Bottom Line, focusing on business and the environment.

Friend also maintains a blog on these subjects, Strategic Sustainability and contributes to Worldchanging, GreenBiz and other blogs on sustainability and business issues.

Other publications (partial list):

  • “The Natural Step”, in Stone Soup for the World, Conari, 1998
  • Mining and Sustainability: Strategic Horizons, Natural Logic, 1998
  • Building an Environmental Economy. with Ernest A. Lowe. City of Berkeley, 1993
  • Applied Industrial Ecology (contributor), Change Management Center, 1993
  • "Working Together: Community Self-Reliance in California," State of California, 1981
  • "Biofuels Development and Soil Productivity," Office of Planning & Research, State of California, 1982;
  • "Closing the Circle: Waste Management, Nutrient Cycles and Regional Food Systems,” Mazingira, 1978
  • "Energy, Agriculture and Neighborhood Food Systems," with David J. Morris. Institute for Local Self Reliance, Washington DC. 1974
  • "Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science". Colonial Times, Washington DC. 1973


Since December 2013, Friend has served as Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Palo Alto, California.

In 1999, he founded Natural Logic Inc., a strategic advisory firm helping companies design, implement and measure profitable sustainability strategies. Friend served as President and CEO until December 2013, and currently holds the position of Chairman.

He was a founding board member of the Sustainable Business Alliance, and currently serves on the boards of directors of Open Data Registry, Inc. and Ecological Building Network, and the advisory boards of CleanFish, Green Chamber of Commerce, Green World Campaign, and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. He was a member of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Clean Tech Advisory Council, and was named one of the Bay Area’s “Top 25 movers and shakers in CleanTech” in 2009 and 2010.

Friend served in the California Governor’s Office, developing early sustainability policies and programs. He was a founding board member of Internet pioneer Institute for Global Communications, founder and Executive Director of Foundation for the Arts of Peace, and cofounder and codirector of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a leading urban ecology and economic development “think-and-do tank,” where he pioneered the current “green roof” trend more than 35 years ago.

In 2006, Tomorrow Magazine called him “One of the country’s leading environmental management consultants — a real expert who combines theoretical sophistication with hands-on, in-the-trenches know-how.”


  1. ^ ISSP, ISSP Hall of Fame ISSP Hall of Fame, 2011.
  2. ^ Gil Friend, Gil Friend Bio Natural Logic Team Bios, 2011.

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