Varda Group

Rémi Parmentier

Rémi is a veteran of the international environmental movement which he joined at a young age in 1974 when he began working with Friends of the Earth in France. Since that time he has been both an actor and a witness of the evolution of environmental advocacy and policy.

Early on, Rémi was a founding member of Greenpeace International, a crew member and campaign leader during the first legendary voyages of the Rainbow Warrior in the 1970s and early 80s (watch French TV documentary here). He established in the 70s and 80s the Greenpeace offices in France, Spain and Latin America, and played a leading role in many of Greenpeace’s campaigns, and in setting up Greenpeace International’s Strategic and Political Unit which he led as Greenpeace International’s Political Director, until he left that position at the end of 2002 to form the Varda Group with Kelly Rigg.

Over his four decades as an environmental advocate, Rémi has worked with leaders, government ministers, scientists, activists, and policy experts, developing a deep knowledge in the areas of sustainable development, environmental policy, public health, marine policy, toxic pollution prevention, nuclear proliferation, among others. Rémi was the main architect of the worldwide prohibition on the dumping at sea of nuclear and industrial wastes, a landmark campaign he ran over fifteen years.

With the Varda Group, Rémi develops projects and campaigns on behalf of a variety of clients and partners, covering areas as diverse as ocean governance and marine policy, climate action, tobacco control, bees and pollinators conservation, whale conservation, anti-corruption, human dignity, etc. He has also served on the delegations of several governments and organizations at numerous international policy fora, within and outside the United Nations system. In 2005, he proposed to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to organize the first World Assembly on Labour and the Environment held in Nairobi in January 2006, and which gave rise to the creation of UNEP’s Green Jobs initiative.

Rémi was one of the initial thinkers who helped conceptualize and establish the Global Ocean Commission and, as its Deputy Executive Secretary has advised the Commissioners, coordinated the policy development and evolution of their roadmap to ocean recovery and helped to deliver on its outcomes.

At COP21 in Paris (2015) and following climate summits, together with Inés de Águeda Rémi coordinated the Because the Ocean initiative on ocean and climate change.

More recently, in 2017, Rémi initiated with the French ocean advocate Claire Nouvian and her NGO BLOOM, the Low Hanging Fish campaign to address the role and duty of the World Trade Organization in eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies as required under the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Resident since several decades in Spain, as an independent expert Rémi has been since its creation in September 2017 a member of the Advisory Council for the Ecological Transition established by the recently appointed Prime Minister of Spain.

Always eager to share his knowledge and experience, Rémi is regularly invited to be speaker at conferences and other events.

Recent writings:

The Role and Impact of International NGOs in Global Ocean Governance”, in Ocean Yearbook, 2012

Celebrated French Rainbow Warrior Investigation echoes Watergate”, in Pacific Journalism Review, 2015

SDG at Sea” in International Institute on Sustainable Development, 2015

Tackling harmful incentives and unsustainable fisheries practices“, in UNCTAD’s Trade & Environment Review 2016

Sustainable and Healthy Ocean: Putting our Money where our Mouth is“, with Kelly Rigg, in International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), 2017

WTO Fisheries Negotiations: Failure is not an Option“, in International Institute on Sustainable Development (IISD), 2019

Blue is the Green“, in Virgin-Unite, 2019