Creating value through
good citizenship

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.

Bertina Engelbrecht

Bertina Engelbrecht

The commitment to continually improve ESG practices within the business was again recognised with the Clicks Group’s inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index and the FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Top 30 Index.

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 will be particularly relevant in supporting the recovery of business and society post Covid‑19 as the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic have had a devastating effect on the most vulnerable members of our society.

The group’s response to Covid‑19 in terms of ensuring the health and safety of employees and customers, protecting shareholder value and supporting communities, is covered in the report on managing the impact of Covid‑19.

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 to ensuring that 100% of plastic packaging used in our stores is reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Social sustainability is focused mainly on our employees and the upliftment of communities. Despite the Covid‑19 lockdown impacting the entire second half of our financial year, the group still invested R140 million in the training and development of employees. The company continues to fund the cost of primary health insurance for over 9 000 employees not covered by medical aid cover. These factors have contributed to the group again being recognised as the top employer in the retail sector in South Africa for the fourth consecutive year by the Top Employer 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 2020 sustainability report which is available at

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 of ensuring that our business is sustainable.

“The commitment to continually improve ESG practices was again recognised with the Clicks Group’s inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index.”

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 now 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.

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 human resources 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 5 BBBEE rating in the 2020 financial year on the amended BBBEE codes, with a score of 75.27 points. Legislative changes to the BBBEE Act in December 2019 relating to the targeted absorption of learners and the introduction of a new bursary spend sub-element adversely impacted the group.

The employment equity and diversity profile of the group reflects 93% black employees and 64% female employees. The group executive committee has 67% black and 33% female representation, while the board comprises 56% black and 33% women directors.

“The employment equity and diversity profile of the group reflects 93% black employees and 64% female employees.”

Further details on the group’s progress on transformation and ESG practices are outlined in the chief executive’s report, including the group’s commitment to supporting local suppliers.

> > > > Please scroll right to view full table

BBBEE element Points available 2020 2019 2018
Ownership 25 14.76 13.41 15.03
Management and employment equity 19 13.58 13.27 12.06
Skills development 25 13.81 18.43 15.57
Preferential procurement, enterprise and supplier development 44 28.12 26.37 26.55
Socio-economic development 5 4.99 5.00 5.00
Total 118 75.27 76.49 74.21
BBBEE level 5 6* 6
* Level 5 discounted to level 6 in 2019.

Socio-economic development

In the past year the group invested 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 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 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 that cannot access government facilities through the mother and baby programme, which provides mothers with nutritional education, health checks and vaccinations for children.

“The group invested R19 million in socio-economic development projects aligned with its focus on health and well-being.”

Over the past six years Clicks has provided more than 430 000 free healthcare consultative and treatment services for conditions including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, blood pressure and cholesterol. Over 16% of these services were provided in the current financial year.

Clicks also donated 10 000 flu vaccines to the frontline healthcare workers of the Western Cape Department of Health and Department of Social Development to support these essential first responders.

Through the Girls on the Go programme, reusable and washable sanitary pads have been provided to over 20 000 schoolgirls.


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 maintained an A- rating. This is ahead of the Africa regional average of B- and the convenience retail sector average of C. Clicks is a founding member of the South African Plastics Pact which was initiated in 2020 to promote a circular economy for plastics.

Refer to the 2020 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.


While we are encouraged by the progress across several areas of ESG during the past year, we acknowledge there remains a great deal more that needs to be addressed and achieved. We are committed to continual improvement of our ESG performance and to playing our part in the sustainable development of the communities in which we operate.

Bertina Engelbrecht

Bertina Engelbrecht

Group human resources director