10 years of Varda

In 2013, the Varda Group celebrated its 10th anniversary. Looking back, what stands out the most is the privilege we've had to work with some of the most exciting campaigns and activists in the world. And we've managed to have a lot of fun along the way....

Kelly Rigg

Varda Group Director

Kelly Rigg, a founding director of the Varda Group, is specialised in managing large international campaigns and projects, including the development of advocacy and communication strategies. She is also the business manager of the Varda Group.

Leading the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition from 2004-2009, and the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) from 2009-present, she has worked with and guided some of the most exciting campaign initiatives on oceans and climate. The deep-sea coalition ran a multi-year campaign to achieve a UN General Assembly moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. The GCCA is a large alliance of environmental, development and humanitarian NGOs, trade unions and faith groups behind the tcktcktck campaign, set up to promote international climate action, including the adoption of a fair, ambitious and binding climate agreement under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 2012, Kelly initiated and coordinated the TckTckTck campaign’s Date with History contest to empower and give a voice to young people in the run-up to and at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. She also served as the chair of the advisory panel for the UNFCCC's "Momentum for Change" initiative.

In 2001, Kelly led Greenpeace International’s campaign in the run up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a focus on climate change and renewable energy. Previously, she had also led Greenpeace’s successful campaign to save Antarctica from 1986 – 1990, with responsibility not only for the political campaign but also for the organisation's World Park Base on Ross Island, Antarctica, and its annual Southern Ocean expedition. She has developed campaign or communication strategies for numerous projects and organisations including the Shark Alliance, WWF’s bluefin tuna campaign, Oceana, the Alliance for a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Green Cross International, IUCN, and many others.

Kelly began campaigning for the environment in 1982, working for Greenpeace in the United States against offshore oil drilling in the days when the Reagan Administration had planned to open virtually the entire US continental shelf to oil development. In 1984 she became the Greenpeace's wildlife campaign director, managing projects on whales, seals, sea turtles, Antarctica and offshore oil drilling. During this time she represented Greenpeace International at the United Nations debates on Antarctica for four years. She served on the State Department Advisory panel on Antarctica, and on the Board of the Washington-based Coast Alliance. She later served on the Board of Directors of Greenpeace USA, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), and the European Union for Coastal Conservation (EUCC).

She has produced countless publications, including for example a Coastal Code of Conduct on behalf of the EUCC in 1997, which was adopted by the Council of Europe under the auspices of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy. In 2003, she was the lead author of a study on behalf of Oceana titled “Halting IUU Fishing – Enforcing International Fisheries Agreements” which was published by the OECD as part of a workshop on IUU fishing. More recently, she has blogged extensively on the issue of climate change as described in the selected writings list below.

In addition to hands-on campaigning, Kelly has served in a variety of senior campaign management positions, including Director of the Greenpeace Atmosphere and Energy Campaign, the Deputy Campaigns Director of Greenpeace International, Director of Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC). She has had oversight and budget responsibility for international campaigns on climate, marine biodiversity, oceans, toxic chemicals, the ozone layer, forests and the Amazon. She has facilitated dozens of international meetings and conducted numerous project evaluations.

“We have a long track record of successful campaigning”, says Kelly, “with the help of The Varda Group, our partners and clients do not need to re-invent the wheel.”

Selected recent writings:

Kelly's Huffington Post blog:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-rigg/

"Waking up to Climate Change" in OECD Yearbook 2012