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 nearly five 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, Rémi coordinated the Because the Ocean initiative on ocean and climate change, with support from the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and other partners. In 2017, Rémi initiated with the French 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. Between 2018 and 2022 he continued to work on this issue on behalf of the Friends of Ocean Action.

At the request of the Governments of France and Costa Rica, Rémi started in 2023 to work as co-facilitator for civil society participation and mobilization in the context of the preparations for the 3rd UN Ocean Conference of June 2025. In this context, in cooperation with several partner organizations, he designed and launched the Let's be Nice to the Ocean initiative.

Resident since several decades in Spain, as an independent expert Rémi was since its creation in September 2017 a member of the Advisory Council for the Ecological Transition of Pedro Sánchez, now the Prime Minister of Spain.

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

Selected 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

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

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

Four new ideas for Protecting the Ocean, with Kelly Rigg, in International Institute on Sustainable Development (IISD), 2021

Listen to the Lost Whale: Climate Change is Ocean Change, in Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, 2021

Sustainable Fisheries vs Harmful Subsidies: Let’s End the War of Attrition, in IISD SDG Knowledge Hub, 2021

Marine Exploitable Areas: Shifting the Burden of Proof for Ocean Protection, in Idees, 2021

La Protección de Áreas Marinas: de Excepción a Norma, in Idees, 2021

From Glasgow to Geneva: Stop subsidizing the Beasts, in IISD SDG Knowledge Hub, 2021

Brest Wishes for the Ocean in 2022, in IISD SDG Knowledge Hub (Also in Spanish in La Marea), 2022

From Blue Food for Thought to Blue Food for Action, in Monaco Ocean Week, 2022

The Lisbon Addendum, presented at the 2nd UN Ocean Conference, 2022

What's next after the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Agreement?, in "Impact", the magazine of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (also in French), 2022

Marine Protection & the High Seas Treaty: A big Deal, in Elcano Royal Institute, 2023

Let's be Nice to the Ocean, in Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, 2023

Let's be Nice to the Ocean, in International Institute on Sustainable Development, 2023

UN Plastics Treaty: Discussions stalled in Nairobi, in Institute on International Relations & Sustainable Development (IDDRI), with Lucien Chabason & Julen Rochette, 2023

Everybody Knows, But the Dice are still Loaded, in International Institute on Sustainable Development, 2024

Plastics Treaty Negotiations: A Ray of Hope in Ottawa, in Institute on International Relations & Sustainable Development (IDDRI), with Lucien Chabason & Isabel Leal, 2024