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16 January 2023

Dr Gabriela Gutierrez-Huerter O wins Financial Times award for real-world impact

Research contributed to the first British Standard on organisational responses to modern slavery

A picture of Dr Gabriela Gutierrez-Huerter O' standing in front of London's Bush House with trees and a red phone box in the background
Dr Gabriela Gutierrez-Huerter O' has been recognised by the Financial Times for her research on modern slavery

Dr Gabriela Gutierrez-Huerter O, Lecturer in International Management at King’s Business School, has been named as a winner in the Financial Times Responsible Business Education Awards academic research category. She has been recognised for work informing the British Standards Institute’s standard on organisational responses to modern slavery, believed to be the first of its kind globally.

Dr Gutierrez-Huerter O’s research into the construction sector in the wake of the introduction of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 uncovered how different attitudes to the nature and underlying causes of labour exploitation influence the kind of solutions that organisations put forward. This work led to her appointment to the technical committee on modern slavery established by the British Standards Institute (BSI). The BSI is the national standards body of the United Kingdom and develops and certifies voluntary technical standards on a wide range of products and services that act as a marker of a company’s quality and operational effectiveness.

Dr Gutierrez Huerter O’ advised on the BSI’s new BS 25700, which gives organisations guidance on how to manage the risk of modern slavery in their in their operations, supply chains and wider operating environment.

My research showed that depicting modern slavery as an inevitable consequence of globalisation tended to inhibit collective action by businesses. This evidence was an important influence on the development of a standard that emphasises that this is an issue where organisations can and must make a difference. I am proud to have been recognised by the Financial Times for my work on the standard, and proud to have been part of a project that will show organisations the practical steps they can take to make progress on modern slavery.

Dr Gabriela Gutierrez-Huerter O', Lecturer in International Management at King's Business School

BS 25700, which will be launched today at the House of Lords, will be available to organisations to download free of charge. Organisations will be able to apply the standards to how they prevent, identify, respond to, address and report on modern slavery.

Find out more

Read about the winners in the FT Responsible Business Education awards.

Read Dr Gutierrez Huerter O’s short piece on modern slavery, how it interacts with the current debate around immigration and workers’ rights in the UK and the pioneering new BSI standard.

Download BS25700: Organisational responses to modern slavery

Read Dr Gutierrez-Huerter O’s original research on modern slavery in the construction sector, with co-authors Stefan Gold of the Institute of Management and Business Studies, University of Kassel, and Alexander Trautrims, Rights Lab, University of Nottingham: Change in Rhetoric but not in Action? Framing of the Ethical Issue of Modern Slavery in a UK Sector at High Risk of Labor Exploitation, Journal of Business Ethics.

In this story

Gabriela  Gutierrez-Huerter O

Lecturer in International Management