Integrated Report


 
Responsible corporate citizenship
 
 
Introduction

Aspen’s vision, “To deliver value to all our stakeholders as a responsible corporate citizen that provides quality, affordable medicines globally“, encapsulates the Group’s inherent approach of conducting business ethically, with integrity and with a commercial wisdom which strives to enhance the economic and social well-being of its investors, employees, customers and business partners. As a JSE Ltd listed top 40 company, in its quest to secure wealth creation and financial growth for its shareholders, Aspen recognises its accountability towards uplifting the communities and for protecting the physical environment within which it operates. At Aspen, responsible corporate citizenship is more than a compliance requirement, it is fundamental to the Group’s objectives.

An absolute commitment to good corporate citizenship

Led by the high-calibre Board of Directors and long-serving, experienced executives, Aspen operates on an established foundation of strong corporate governance. King III has largely been implemented throughout the Group with the exception of matters identified here where reasons for non-compliance or partial compliance are explained. Aspen acknowledges steps taken internationally towards enhancing and standardising sustainability reporting and supports sustainability initiatives which are relevant to the Group. To this end, the Board has enhanced its commitment to such initiatives through the establishment of the Risk & Sustainability Committee. Through this Committee, the Board considers the strategic, financial and operational risks facing the Group and monitors the adequacy of actions taken to mitigate these risks, thereby protecting the interests of stakeholders.

Aspen believes in engagement and communication with the Group’s identified stakeholders. In doing so, Aspen undertakes to provide information which is truthful, accurate and consistent and which is relevant to stakeholders in making their decisions.

With the aim of supplying high quality, cost-effective products responsibly to all our customers, products are manufactured and distributed in accordance with the relevant regulations, legislation and guidelines governing the pharmaceutical industry. In the promotion of Aspen’s brand and products, our sales and marketing policies are aligned with relevant marketing codes in each operating territory.

Securing economic returns to shareholders
Creating wealth is a business imperative and delivering returns to shareholders is a pre-requisite for sustainability of any business as a going concern. Since its public listing in 1998, Aspen has consistently delivered progressive returns to shareholders. Aspen benchmarks its performance against its competitors both in South Africa and internationally. Robust financial systems of control are applied to monitor and report financial information. Financial objectives are, however, set with due consideration of non-financial factors impacting each area of the business. The business environment in each geographic segment is carefully studied on an ongoing basis and territory-specific business strategies are implemented to maximise the opportunities in each region while mitigating the downside. Strategic transactions are undertaken with due regard to:
  • increasing shareholder wealth;
  • Aspen’s Code of Conduct;
  • protecting the credibility and good reputation of the Group;
  • compliance and regulatory requirements;
  • the expectations of and potential impact on affected stakeholders;
  • the Group’s tolerance for risk; and
  • the unique market and operational dynamics which characterise each territory.
Our people

Aspen’s strength lies in its worldwide team of more than 6 300 employees. Employees work in a trusting environment which is free from discrimination, prejudice, bias, harassment and violation. Employee rights and labour regulations are respected through human resources, industrial relations and legal compliance frameworks implemented throughout the Group. Employees are free to belong to a trade union and/or collective bargaining councils.

Executives and management interact with staff on the basis of an open-door policy and employees are given the necessary infrastructure, training and support required to perform their duties professionally, effectively, efficiently and diligently. In this way, every employee is expected to optimise their contribution to the Group and act in good faith as an ambassador of Aspen’s values and corporate ethics. To this end, employees sign a Code of Conduct which governs their actions relative to the Group.

Protocols, programmes and support facilities are in place to protect employees’ health, safety and well-being. Through the Transformation Committee, the Board endorses diversity and addresses South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment objectives.

The Group strives to ensure that each employee’s contribution is fairly rewarded and recognised. The Remuneration & Nomination Committee monitors remuneration and reward structures to ensure that employees are compensated with competitive salary and benefit schemes.

“Healthcare. We Care“

An investment of more than R1 billion has been made over the last five years to build and upgrade our world-class manufacturing sites in order to supply superior quality products at competitive prices for our customers throughout the world. Highly skilled and competent professionals are employed in our business to manage the quality, efficacy and cost of products. Aspen’s robust pipeline includes products which cover a wide range of therapeutic categories across a diverse customer base. At the onset of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Aspen pioneered the concept of voluntary licences through which multinational companies granted manufacturing and supply rights to selected generic players for patented HIV/AIDS drugs. In this way, Aspen accelerated the supply of affordable ARVs to Africa and other emerging markets. Aspen was the first company to launch generic ARVs in Africa. Such initiatives demonstrate Aspen’s commitment to increasing access to affordable medicines throughout its global markets.

Aspen’s CSI programme supports the establishment of clinics, healthcare programmes, educational programmes, community programmes and charitable initiatives which are targeted at addressing the shortage of primary healthcare in South Africa. Programmes targeting HIV/AIDS and TB are given priority.

CSI projects are also carried out at Aspen’s International businesses to contribute to the well-being of employees, customers and the broader communities.

Protecting our environment and conserving resources

Our manufacturing and supply protocols promote the ongoing review and continuous improvement of operating policies and procedures in an effort to deliver high quality products to the market responsibly, on time and at competitive prices. In doing so, cognisance is taken of developments in environmental legislation, related technological enhancements relevant to the Group’s operations, resource conservation systems and environmental management guidelines.