Gil Friend

Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Palo Alto

Gil Philip Friend is Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Palo Alto, where he is charged to "develop a world class sustainability strategy... and lead Palo Alto be being the greenest city in America.", lead the development of Palo Alto's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, including "80x30" greenhouse gas reduction goals, and plans to achieve them.

A systems ecologist and business strategist with more than 45 years experience in business & policy innovation, Friend is widely considered one of the founders of the sustainable business movement. He was named inaugural member of the Sustainability Hall of Fame (along with Amory Lovins, Karl-Henrik Robert, Bob Willard and the late Ray Anderson) by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, and "one of the 10 most influential sustainability voices in America" by The Guardian.

As founder & CEO of Natural Logic Inc, Friend has helped companies in a wide range of industries to design, implement and measure profitable sustainability strategies. 

"Natures' ecosystems have nearly 4 billion years of experience,” Friend observed in 1991, “in the development of efficient, adaptive, resilient, and sustainable systems. Why should companies reinvent the wheel, when the R&D has already been done?" 

He serves on the Board of Directors of, Inquiring Systems Inc. and as advisor to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, among other organizations. He has served as Faculty at Presidion Graduate School, and lectures widely on business strategy and sustainability issues. He is author, The Truth About Green Business (FT Press),The New Bottom Line; coauthor, Biofuels Development and Soil Productivity. Contributor, Worldchanging: A User’s Guide to the 21st Century, Sustainable Enterprise Report, Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook, Sustainable Food Systems, Stepping Stones.

Session: Sustainability - Community Climate Leadership - What can one small city do?