“It’s like climbing a mountain—you take one step at a time”: TED Prize winner Charmian Gooch talks campaigning to end anonymous companies

I want to help build the database of company ownership that Charmian Gooch talks about.

TED Blog

Charmain Gooch made a bold wish at TED2014—that we end the practice of anonymous companies. Here, she talks about the campaign three months in and responds to criticisms of it. Photo: James Duncan Davidson Charmian Gooch made a bold wish at TED2014—that we end the practice of anonymous companies. Here, she talks about the campaign three months in and responds to criticisms of it. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Earlier this month, the Queen announced legislation to clamp down on corporate secrecy in her speech at the opening of Parliament in the United Kingdom. This may be news to the rest of the world, but it was a hard-won victory for the campaigners at Global Witness, an international non-governmental organization known for hard-hitting field investigations that unearth murky, controversial and unjust dealings, particularly ones that exploit natural resources.

The London-based organization has spent five years making a case to end anonymous companies—structures which shield information about who ultimately owns and benefits from a company, thus creating the perfect breeding ground for corruption. While most people have been sympathetic to Global Witness’ cause, in terms…

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