Creating value through
Clicks Group’s strategy recognises the importance of corporate citizenship as a key enabler in creating long-term value for all stakeholders.
Responsible environmental and social practices support business resilience, enhance the reputation of our brand and benefit all stakeholders including employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers and the communities in which we trade.
The group’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure that our activities meet the standards of the global drive to achieve SDG targets by 2030.
The commitment to continually improve ESG practices within the business was again recognised with Clicks Group’s inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index. The group’s rating was unchanged at 4.1 out of five, with scores of 3.0 for the environmental pillar, 4.1 for social and 5.0 for governance practices.
Business plays a key role in driving socio-economic development and transformation. This is achieved by providing and creating decent work through learning and development opportunities, enterprise and supplier development initiatives as well as corporate social investment. These contributions are particularly relevant in supporting the recovery of business and society post Covid-19.
We recognise that the fastest and safest way to economic recovery from the damaging effects of the pandemic is to vaccinate as many people as possible to protect lives and help to accelerate growth.
The group committed to supporting the government’s national Covid-19 vaccination programme by making its pharmacies available to ensure the broadest possible access to vaccination sites. Clicks is the largest private-sector vaccination provider in the country and by the end of October 2021 had administered over 1.5 million vaccinations from 531 sites. Further detail on Clicks’ contribution is included in the vaccinating the nation report.
On the environmental front, we have developed strategies to reduce our carbon footprint through more efficient energy and water usage, waste management, distribution network optimisation and recycling activities across the supply chain. We also acknowledge our responsibility in relation to single-use plastics and packaging, and are committed over the long term to working with our suppliers to ensure that 100% of plastic packaging used in our stores is reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Social sustainability is focused mainly on our employees, the upliftment of communities and support of the local supply chain. The group invested R217 million in the training and development of employees. Clicks provided R5.8 million in bursaries to 100 pharmacy students, with 98% of bursary recipients being black and 57% female. The company continues to fund the cost of primary health insurance for over 9 000 employees not covered by medical aid. These factors have contributed to the group again being recognised as the top employer in the retail sector in South Africa for the fifth consecutive year by the Top Employers Institute.
Governance practices are entrenched across the group and are constantly reviewed and enhanced where necessary. In the evaluation for the FTSE4Good Index Series the group again attained the maximum score for the governance component, confirming that our governance standards are in line with international best practice.
The group’s sustainability activities are detailed in the 2021 sustainability report which is available at www.clicksgroup.co.za.
Approach to sustainability
The group’s core business creates meaningful social impact through the provision of health products and improving access to quality and affordable healthcare. This supports South Africa’s national development goals by promoting healthy lives and well-being for all.
The sustainability strategy is based on four focus areas:
- Building a trusted, accessible healthcare network
- Empowering motivated, passionate people
- Sourcing products that uphold the integrity of our brand
- Minimising our footprint
The sustainability strategy is guided by the following principles:
Integrity and governance: We conduct business with integrity. Through effective governance and controls, including our code of conduct, we seek to ensure that our group is accountable and remains responsive to evolving norms governing the conduct of businesses in the countries in which we operate.
Healthcare: We are committed to building a trusted, accessible healthcare network, aiding in providing cost-effective, quality primary healthcare to all sectors of our society through our retail footprint and by promoting the use of generic medicines.
Environment: We endeavour, even as we grow, to lighten our footprint through reducing consumption, deployment of resources and waste.
Stakeholders: We acknowledge and consider our stakeholders in our decision-making, seek to engage with our stakeholders, and to understand their interests and imperatives in ensuring that our business is sustainable.
Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations SDGs were adopted with the global goal to eliminate poverty, reduce inequality, safeguard the environment, and ensure fairness and justice for all. Clicks Group supports the goals and aims to align its practices and principles with the SDGs, and is also a formal signatory of the United Nations Global Compact.
The group has identified seven of the 17 SDGs where the business can have the most impact and play a role in contributing to the ultimate attainment of these goals.
Clicks Group’s approach
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Clicks Group aligns to legislated minimum living wages and pursues equity in pay and empowerment of women through socio-economic development programmes.
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Clicks Group offers a comprehensive employee wellness programme. Clicks provides free clinic tests and family planning through the Helping Hand Trust. Clicks plays a key role in administering Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa to support the health and wellness of the population.
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Clicks offers equal opportunity for education at university level to employees, including youth in the workforce through internships and permanent employment. The group also offers pharmacy bursaries that assist in developing capacity for the pharmacy sector in South Africa.
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Clicks Group is committed to implementing alternative energy sources for its operations.
Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
The group promotes decent work and economic growth through job creation and by providing good benefits with decent working conditions.
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
The group is committed to reducing pollution, waste and resource usage by setting targets to continuously improve and implement solutions beyond regulatory requirements.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
In line with the Paris Agreement on reducing global emissions, the group has been setting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets since 2008.
Empowerment and transformation
Empowerment and transformation are critical aspects of sustainability and the group is committed to the spirit and targets set out in the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act.
Transformation is overseen by the board’s social and ethics committee and managed by an internal transformation committee, which is chaired by the chief executive and co-ordinated by the group corporate affairs director. Business unit transformation forums are responsible for the implementation of transformation at an operational level.
The group’s transformation strategy is aligned to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Codes of Good Practice. The group achieved a level 4 BBBEE rating in the 2021 financial year (2020: level 5) on the amended BBBEE codes, with a score of 83.54 points (2020: 75.27 points).
The employment equity and diversity profile of the group reflects 95% black employees and 64% female employees. The executive management team has 80% black and 20% female representation, while the board comprises 64% black and 36% women directors.
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|BBBEE element||Points available||2021||2020||2019|
|Management and employment equity||19||14.06||13.58||13.27|
|Preferential procurement, enterprise and supplier development||44||30.02||28.12||26.37|
Supporting local suppliers
As a proudly South African company we are committed to supporting local suppliers and have continued to transform our supply base. Only 8% of our retail products are imported directly.
As part of our support of the local economy, we launched a small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) supplier listing portal to assist small and medium-sized suppliers. Our commitment to this strategy is reflected in the 69% growth in purchases from small and medium-sized businesses to R1.2 billion.
The group invested R73 million in enterprise and supplier development programmes while R44 million was paid to 65 small enterprise owner-drivers contracted to UPD.
We are targeting purchases of over R7 billion through black-owned businesses in the next three years, including R4.5 billion through black women-owned suppliers.
In the past year the group invested R23 million (2020: R19 million) in socio-economic development projects aligned to its focus on health and well-being.
The Clicks Helping Hand Trust aims to benefit the lives of ordinary South Africans by providing access to quality healthcare by offering free preventative testing and wellness services through the footprint of over 190 Clicks clinics countrywide.
As part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Clicks Helping Hand Trust donated 126 000 masks and 119 000 bottles of sanitiser to over 20 000 beneficiaries. The trust also extended the time allocated to free services at selected Clicks clinics to help the most vulnerable people in our communities. The services contribute to reducing foot traffic in state facilities and ensure that Covid-19 co-morbidities such as diabetes, blood pressure and HIV/AIDS are better managed.
The Clicks Helping Hand Trust also assists mothers and babies who cannot access government facilities through the mother and baby programme, which provides mothers with nutritional education, health checks and vaccinations for children.
Over the past six years Clicks has provided more than 500 000 free healthcare consultative and treatment services for conditions including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, blood pressure and cholesterol.
The Girls on the Go programme, which was created to prevent girls missing school due to a lack of access to sanitary products, has provided over 3 000 reusable and more than 150 000 disposable sanitary pads to schoolgirls across the country.
While the group’s activities do not have a significantly negative impact on the environment, as a responsible retailer the group is committed to addressing environmental and climate change challenges.
Environmental management systems are embedded into all business practices and operations. The group participates in the voluntary Carbon Disclosure Project and in the latest assessment achieved an A rating for the first time.
We are committed to achieving environmental and biodiversity goals by 2030. These include reducing carbon emissions intensity by 10%, energy consumption by 5% and water consumption at the head office and distribution centres by 5%.
Clicks is a founding member of the South African Plastics Pact which was initiated in 2020 to promote a circular economy for plastics. We support the goal of the SA Plastics Pact to drive for 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025.
In response to customers being increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the products they consume, Clicks introduced the MyEarth range of eco-friendly products, aligning to the group’s sustainability drive. The MyEarth range of daily essential products use recyclable plastic packaging or plastic-free packaging made from sustainable paper, all with recycled content where possible. MyEarth also offers reusable products made from bamboo, hemp, natural rubber and organic cotton as well as personal care items such as bamboo combs and hairbrushes, and toothbrushes made from recycled plastic waste.
Refer to the 2021 sustainability report for detail on the group’s environmental management strategy, approach to climate change, carbon emissions data and the management of electricity, water and waste.
We are encouraged by our progress across several areas of ESG, particularly in relation to social and governance practices, and recognise the enormity of the task to improve our reporting on climate change and to mitigate the risks of climate change on our business.
The group understands that sustainability risks translate into business risks and we are aware of the potential impacts on our operations. We are committed to addressing investors’ concerns in aligning with climate change risks and opportunities through the adoption of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations.
Group corporate affairs director