Transformation is a strategic imperative: the board is diverse in terms of gender, race, skills, qualifications and sector experience. Management is led by the first black female CEO in the retail sector, the majority of the workforce is black and female, and the group continues to maintain gender pay parity. The group actively supports black female-owned businesses through its supplier development programme and procurement practices.
The group continues to focus on its social impact on communities. This is vital given the socio-economic environment of the developing countries in which the group operates.
The group made significant progress in its goal of increasing access to affordable, quality health and wellness services. This has been achieved through the expansion of the store, pharmacy and clinic footprint, with 450 stores serving as registered national Department of Health pick-up points for the collection of state sponsored chronic medication. The group also offers an extensive range of affordable generic medicines.
Distribution of dignity packs in partnership with the Gift of the Givers
Through the Clicks Helping Hand Trust, the group significantly increased the range of free primary healthcare services offered to vulnerable communities and entered into a partnership with Phelophepa health trains. The Phelophepa trains are free, mobile healthcare clinics that travel to areas of rural and periurban South Africa, where access to healthcare is severely limited. In promoting and supporting education of women, the group has launched a Students on the Go programme. This has been done in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand to address period poverty and provide sanitary protection to underprivileged students. Furthermore, the group continues to support academically deserving students through its bursary programme which amounted to R5.1 million. As part of promoting the public health agenda, the majority of bursaries were allocated to pharmacy students.
The group also supports the Thuthuzela Care Centres which serve as a safe place for victims of gender-based violence.
Increasingly, the group’s progress in sustainability has been acknowledged by global ESG rating agencies such as FTSE Russell and MSCI. The group has made encouraging strides as part of its environmental stewardship in reducing its carbon footprint and its objective of leaving a lasting positive legacy. This is aligned to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of its sustainability strategy. The group undertook a review of its carbon neutrality targets to provide a pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050. In the past year, the group, in its contribution towards planet preservation, has invested in solar energy solutions, battery storage and focused on energy efficient products in its infrastructure network. The group has made advancements in producing environmentally friendly private label products, increased its product recycling capabilities and reduced its plastic waste. The group as part of its environmental clean up awareness embarked on a MyEarth beach clean up exercise in Sea Point, Cape Town in July 2023. Route planning optimisation for its product distribution to stores and customers also served to lighten its environmental impact. The group has a supplier code of conduct which ensures that suppliers adhere to ethical sourcing standards aligned to the UN Global Compact principles. The group’s Sedex membership ensures the entrenchment of an ethical supply chain, free of bribery and corruption.
Clicks Group CEO Bertina Engelbrecht with members of the Wits student representative council at the launch of the Students on the Go Programme
South Africa is an increasingly water scarce country and the group focused on its water saving initiatives which include rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling.
The group’s efforts in creating an enabling environment have been recognised through several accolades including the Top Employer in the retail sector for seven consecutive years, Standard Bank Top Women’s Award in the health and pharmaceuticals category, Sunday Times GenNext Coolest Health and Beauty store, and Product of the Year 2023 for the Clicks Made4Baby nappy range.
The sustainability programme is underpinned by a robust governance framework drawn from global best practices, which ensures that the group’s operations are responsive to the needs of the communities it serves.