Our approach to sustainability

We are committed to creating value for our stakeholders in a manner that is responsible, transparent, and that respects the rights of all. We recognise that to achieve long-term success, we need to deliver our Business Strategy in a way that not only creates value for Aspen and our shareholders, but also in a manner which demonstrates our responsibility to society and the planet.

Our sustainability commitments

We believe that doing business in a sustainable and responsible manner is integral to our purpose, our values and our philosophy Healthcare. We Care. Our sustainability commitments are integrated into the Group’s strategic objectives and underpin the way we do business. Our sustainability commitments are determined with consideration to the following key aspects:

UN Global Compact

We are a UN Global Compact participant and have aligned our sustainability commitments with the principles outlined in the UN Global Compact, which cover human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and bribery. Our previously published Communication on Progress report, available online, sets out our approach to the application of these principles.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Launched in September 2015, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a global action plan for people, planet and prosperity. The 17 SDGs aim to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through the promotion of sustainable development. As a multinational pharmaceutical company, we play an important role in contributing to the delivery of the SDGs. While all the SDGs are essential, we have identified eight goals where we believe we are able to have the greatest impact and we have linked these to our sustainability themes and material sustainability topics.

Enhanced governance over sustainability

Demonstrating our commitment to sustainability, the Group has undertaken several steps to enhance Executive and Board oversight of the Group’s related opportunities and risks and overall sustainability performance. In FY2022, the Group Senior Leadership Conference endorsed a high-level roadmap for the development of a Group-wide Sustainability Strategy, indicating support at the most senior Executive and Board levels for a more deliberate integration of sustainability commitments into the Group strategy. The development of our sustainability strategy is progressing according to key milestones under the oversight of the Executive Sustainability Forum, chaired by the Group Chief Operations Officer. We continue to enhance our reporting on sustainability-related issues to the Social & Ethics Committee which monitors the Group’s sustainability and ESG performance across the four sustainability pillars.

A link to performance and remuneration

Aligned to our remuneration philosophy, we have incorporated sustainability (ESG) KPIs into our performance and incentive schemes. We have achieved this through the inclusion of sustainability-related KPIs (aligned with Group objectives) within the business unit scorecards, the inclusion of specific ESG-related priorities in the annual key performance areas or assessments ("KPAs") of the Group Chief Executive as well as the inclusion of an ESG measure relating to our key sustainability focus of "access to medicines" in the management long-term incentive scheme page 127.


Responsible strategic direction of the Group’s sustainability strategy.

Audit & Risk Committee

  • Oversees the management of key sustainability-related risks.
  • Receives assurance on the Group's financial and non-financial KPIs.

Social & Ethics Committee

Oversees sustainability and ESG strategy development and monitors performance across our four sustainability pillars.

Remuneration & Nomination Committee

Ensures inclusion of appropriate sustainability and ESG-related KPIs into Group, executive director and business unit performance scorecards and incentive schemes aligned to remuneration governance principles, Group strategy and shareholder expectations.

Group Executive Committee

Approves sustainability strategy and monitors execution.

Executive Sustainability Forum

Supports the Group Executive Committee and is comprised of cross-functional Group Executive Committee members, other senior leaders and subject matter experts. Provides oversight of the sustainability strategy development, implementation and reporting.

Group Risk & Sustainability

Reporting to the Group Chief Corporate Services Officer and supported by the Sustainability Working Groups, the Group Risk & Sustainability team drives our sustainability and ESG work across the Group, ensures coordination and is responsible for Group-level sustainability and ESG-related reporting.

Cross-functional and cross geographical Sustainability Working Groups

Focusing on specific pillars and sustainability topics and collaborate to develop sustainability strategies and roadmaps for the Group.

Our commitment to transparency in reporting

We are continuously developing our sustainability and ESG reporting to enhance our ability to respond to the increasing disclosure expectations of our stakeholders, including our investors. In addition to our current reporting commitments to the UN Global Compact and CDP, we map our disclosures against GRI, SASB, TCFD and the JSE Sustainability Disclosure Guidance in our Sustainability and ESG Data Supplement, available online. We have retained our listing in the Top 30 FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index Series and we are a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index.

Sustainability materiality assessment approach

Our sustainability strategy is guided by a sustainability materiality assessment. The business environment in which we operate and the expectations from our stakeholders continuously evolve. Our sustainability materiality assessment is used to identify which governance, social and environmental issues are of the greatest interest to our stakeholders and have the greatest impact on the business. It informs our sustainability strategies and allows us to identify opportunities and prioritise our efforts to address the issues of significance. It further allows us to establish meaningful metrics to evaluate our sustainability performance and informs the content on our reporting.

This year we reviewed the sustainability materiality outcomes of the prior year and made updates to reflect the rapidly changing external context and Aspen’s strategic positioning.

Key changes to our material sustainability topics:

  • "animal welfare" was added as a new material topic;
  • "responsible advocacy and lobbying" was refined to "Responsible advocacy" recognising that lobbying is just one aspect falling under the "Responsible Advocacy" topic;
  • "data privacy and information security" was amended to "Data governance" to reflect the increased focus on ethics and governance associated with artificial intelligence and data in the healthcare industry more generally; and
  • "waste" was expanded to "Resource use and waste" to encapsulate the concepts of reduced resource use and circular economy within a waste lifecycle approach.

The updated sustainability materiality matrix was debated by the Executive Sustainability Forum, approved by the Group Executive Committee and reviewed by the Social & Ethics Committee. Our intention is to further enhance this process through engaging more broadly with our internal and external stakeholders in future periods.


As a pharmaceutical company, and aligned to our purpose of improving the health and quality of life of patients, we have a responsibility, and the opportunity, to make a meaningful contribution to the global challenge of making healthcare available to all.

  • Improved health and quality of life for the patients who use our medicines
  • Maintained a reliable supply of quality and affordable treatment options and medicines for HPCs and healthcare systems
  • Increased capacity and technical know-how to respond to emerging healthcare crises in Africa, and the world
  • Commenced technical transfer of four Aspen-branded vaccines for Africa

180 medicines on the WHO Essential Medicines List

Patients in more than 60 low and middle-income countries treated with our medicines

11 SED initiatives aimed at strengthening healthcare, including emergency product donations

Our impact

Our commitment

We are committed to promoting access to medicines by providing a reliable supply of high quality, affordable products across the geographies of our operations.

Our People

To deliver on our purpose of improving the health and quality of life of patients, we must attract, develop and retain diverse people who are the best at what they do.

  • Provide employment and opportunities for growth and development in the geographic regions in which we operate
  • Maintain a diverse and inclusive working environment free of discrimination and harassment
  • Implemented further programmes to support employee health and well-being

R9 billion in salaries and benefits paid to our more than 9 100 employees

R59,8 million invested in training and development initiatives

35% female representation in senior roles

Zero occupational fatalities

Our impact

Our commitment

We are committed to creating an inclusive, healthy and safe work environment where everyone is treated fairly and with respect and is inspired to develop to their full potential.


Our long-term success depends on building and maintaining trust with society. Responsible corporate citizenship is grounded in a commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards in the conduct of our global business operations.

  • Adopted a stakeholder-inclusive governance approach and committed to transparency and effective communication
  • Implemented responsible and ethical business practices aligned with the UN Global Compact principles
  • Contributed to the social and economic upliftment in the communities in which we operate
  • Generated economic value for our varied stakeholder groups

Strong corporate governance aligned with King IV principles

218 SED projects implemented across 22 countries

R4 496 million spent with empowered suppliers in South Africa

Constituent of FTSE4Good Index and
Top 30 FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index

Our impact

Our commitment

We are committed to operating an ethical and responsible business underpinned by our shared values and governance structures. We uphold the dignity, fundamental freedoms and human rights of our employees, contractors and the communities in which we live and work, and others affected by our activities.


Access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment has been declared a universal human right. To enable a healthier world, we must take steps to reduce the impact we have on the environment as we convert and use natural resources in the manufacture and distribution of our quality medicines and APIs.

  • Ensured a sustainable supply of energy and water, critical to our ability to operate
  • Implemented various initiatives to reduce our consumption of natural resources and carbon emissions
  • Responsible management and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste and effluent
  • Committed to transparency through CDP and TCFD-aligned disclosures

28% reduction on Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions over the past five years

37% reduction in water withdrawn over the past five years

86% waste recycled and only 2% to landfill

CDP-CC and CDP-WS performance rated as "B Management Level" and
"B-Management Level", respectively

Our impact

Our commitment

We are committed to practising responsible environmental stewardship seeking to minimise any negative impact our operations have on the environment in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and other environmental management requirements.