Global Witness has been awarded two prestigious prizes – together worth $2.25 million: the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and the TED Prize.
This recognition of our “extraordinary innovation in disrupting an unjust and unsustainable status quo” (Skoll), and our “bold and creative vision to spark global change” (TED) shows how far Global Witness has come in its 20 years.
From working out of founder Simon Taylor’s front room and sourcing our first computer from a skip, we’ve come a long way. We’re now an 80-strong team of campaigners, investigators, journalists, lawyers, and policy wonks…. And we’re working on getting to the bottom of the true economic story. That means exposing the warlords, politicians and businessmen looting natural wealth; the oil, mining or timber companies they do business with; the traders, manufacturers and investors who turn a blind eye; and the banks, lawyers and anonymous shell companies that help launder the profits.
These prizes will give a rocket boost to our work. They will help us continue our investigations, report on matters in the public interest, and launch hard hitting campaigns that challenge vested interests and change the system.
Some of our major focuses at the moment include ending the abuse of anonymous companies; pushing for a global transparency standard to make make oil, gas and mining companies open up their books and publish the payments they make to governments around the world; stopping funding for deforestation, land grabs and fossil fuel extraction and getting companies to stamp out conflict resources from their supply chains. You’ll be hearing a lot more from us on all these campaigns.
In our 20th anniversary year, we couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present and hope these prizes will propel us through 20 more years of having our ‘eyes on the bad guys’. Details of how we’ll be using the TED support, and how you can get involved, will be coming soon. Please watch this space, we’re very excited.