Those of you who are avid consumers of all things TED will know that the main TED conference took place last week. One of the many outstanding talks was given by Charmian Gooch, the recipient of the 2014 TED Prize.

Gooch founded the organisation Global Witness in 1993 with two friends, one of whom happens to be our TEDxExeter 2014 speaker Patrick Alley. Global Witness seeks to change the system by exposing the economic networks behind conflict, corruption and environmental destruction, campaigning in particular on: secrecy in oil, gas and mining deals; the role of the financial sector fuelling corruption; living within our planet’s thresholds; and conflict and fragile states.

Gooch has now set her sights on anonymous companies generally. As the blurb for her TED Prize talk says: “Anonymous companies protect corrupt individuals – from notorious drug cartel leaders to nefarious arms dealers – behind a shroud of mystery that makes it almost impossible to find and hold them responsible.”

So Gooch’s TED Prize wish is…

“for us to know who owns and controls companies, so that they can no longer be used anonymously against the public good. Let’s ignite world opinion, change the law, and together launch a new era of openness in business.”

The thing about a TED Prize wish is that it can’t be achieved by the wisher. It can only be granted by a myriad of fairy godmothers and genies working together. But if wand-waving isn’t your thing, a full list of ways to get involved can be found at ted.com/charmian. The two best ways at this stage (after watching the talk, of course) are to share The Grin animation and to like the Facebook page, which will eventually have information regarding specific petitions. There’s also an infographic that explains the issue in detail, for sharing, and the hashtag is #AnonymousCompanies. Izzy wizzy, let’s get busy!

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