Gil Friend is founder, chair, and CEO of Natural Logic Inc, helping companies design, implement and measure profitable sustainability strategies, and founder of Critical Path Capital, a family of funds.
Friend, a sought after keynote speaker, is widely considered one of the founders of the sustainability movement, and was named an inaugural member of the Sustainability Hall of Fame (along with Ray Anderson, Amory Lovins, Karl-Henrik Robert and Bob Willard) by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, acknowledging “those people that have contributed the most to the emerging field of sustainability,” and “one of the 10 most influential sustainability voices in America” by The Guardian.
From December 2013 to November 2018, he served as the first Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Palo Alto, California, where he lead the development of one of the most aggressive climate action plans in the US, winning unanimous city council support for a goal of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (and reaching 56% reduction by his departure to return to Natural Logic.)
A systems ecologist and business strategist with nearly 50 years experience in business, communications, and environmental innovation, Friend combines broad business experience with unique content experience spanning strategy, systems ecology, economic development, management cybernetics, and public policy. 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.”
Friend has served on the boards of directors of Inquiring Systems, Inc. and Ecological Building Network, as well as Natural Logic, Inc., and the advisory boards of CleanFish, Green Chamber of Commerce, Green World Campaign, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and Sustainable Brands, and was a founding board member of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, the Institute for Global Communications and the Sustainable Business Alliance. He served on San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Clean Tech Advisory Council, and the executive board of OpenEco.org, and was twice named one of the Bay Area’s top 25 movers & shakers in cleantech
Friend has served as Expert in Residence at the Presidio Graduate School and the University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business, Adjunct Faculty at Presidio Graduate School, and visiting faculty at California College of the Arts, Haas School of Business, University of California Santa Cruz, Antioch Uiversity, Goddard College and other institutions. He lectures widely on business strategy and sustainability issues and wrote The New Bottom Line column for the Los Angeles Times Synidcate in the early 1990s, offering strategic perspectives on business and environment. Friend is author of the acclaimed book The Truth About Green Business and the forthcoming book, Proﬁt on Purpose: Risk, Fiduciary Duty and the Laws of Nature; was co-author 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,
He 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.