Under section 54 of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015, corporations doing business in the UK that have an annual turnover greater than £36m are obliged to publish a statement accessible from their homepage, that is signed by a director or equivalent, on the steps that they have taken – if any! – to “ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains, and in any part of its own business”.
We’ve been looking at some of the metaphors that large, multi-channel retailers in the UK have used in these statements. Very basically, metaphors apply what we know about a familiar topic to a more complex or less familiar topic. As such, the metaphors used to describe or explain a certain concept give us unique insight into how this concept is understood.
We examined statements published by Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Mothercare in 2016, 2017 and 2018. These companies have all actively contributed to efforts in Britain against what the UK government terms ‘modern slavery’, beyond just publishing those statements. As such, these companies may, to some extent, be considered role models.