The KION Group strives for a balance between environmental, economic and social considerations in its business activities. This focus on sustainability is reflected in its eco-friendly and safe products that help customers to conserve energy, reduce emissions and comply with strict workplace safety standards (see the ‘research and development’ section). Furthermore, the KION Group ensures that its production processes have as minimal an impact on the environment as possible and that it offers safe and discrimination-free working conditions.

The KION Code of Compliance lays down binding rules of conduct for all companies in the Group and their employees. All other standards and initiatives relating to health, safety and the environment (HSE) are derived from this code. The corporate policy on workplace safety, health and the environment defines a number of requirements for the KION Group companies, including:

  • as a minimum, complying with all relevant national laws, codes of conduct and industry standards;
  • ensuring safe working conditions and providing employees with the necessary training;
  • avoiding the release of pollutants, discharge and emissions into the environment as far as possible;
  • reducing the volume of waste by making better use of raw materials and using recyclable materials;
  • using materials, products and processes that comply with best environmental practice;
  • using resources, energy and raw materials efficiently.

In 2014, the KION Group established new minimum standards for employment based on the fundamental conventions drawn up by the International Labour Organization (ILO). These include freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, elimination of forced and child labour, and a ban on discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Furthermore, the KION Group is committed to ensuring health and safety standards in the workplace and to paying its employees remuneration that is appropriate to the industry in the particular country and, at the very least, provides a living wage.

Regular audits at all production sites increase awareness of workplace safety and environmental protection. The standardised system of HSE KPIs introduced in 2013 is proving its worth. It serves to bring HSE standards into line worldwide and to create a shared culture of awareness regarding the environment and safety. All audits in the reporting year showed a clear improvement in the individual units compared with 2013.

The KION Safety Championship was introduced in 2014 as a way of providing additional impetus and motivation for employees to engage with HSE matters. All production facilities take part. Based on regular reporting from the individual units, a panel of judges decides which units deserve to be rewarded for special dedication or considerable progress in an area of HSE. The assessment takes account of the units’ different economic and cultural situations.

Safety experts at the KION Group’s various production facilities began to collaborate more closely last year. For a number of years now, the HSE managers at all production sites have met annually for an international summit at which they discuss current topics and share best practice. In 2014, a summit for the HSE managers in sales & service was held for the first time. Following the same approach as the production departments, the aim is to set up a standardised reporting and analysis system for accidents and risks in the sales & service organisation.

All plants capture data about their energy consumption, volumes of waste and recycling, water consumption and emissions of CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOC). This data is included in an annual internal environmental report. Data for 2014 was not available at the time this group management report was compiled, so the key data from the 2013 environmental report is presented below.

The total volume of primary energy consumed by all production sites in the KION Group in 2013 amounted to 285.5 gigawatt hours, a far lower figure than in 2012. The largest source of energy was electricity (36.9 per cent), followed by gas (32.1 per cent) and coal (22.3 per cent).

At 39,735 tonnes, the volume of waste was also much smaller than in previous years. Of this total amount, 91.8 per cent was recycled (2012: 92.2 per cent). There was a fall in both the absolute volume of non-recycled waste and the proportion of that volume that consisted of environmentally hazardous waste compared with 2012. Furthermore, the figures reported for water consumption and emissions of volatile organic compounds and the greenhouse gas CO2 were also lower in 2013 than in the previous year.

The KION Group’s objective is to gradually establish a certified system for quality, environmental and safety management at all sites. At the end of the year, KION sites had been certified in accordance with the following international standards:

  • ISO 9001 (quality management): 12 production sites, 16 sales & service units
  • ISO 14001 (environmental management): 6 production sites, 11 sales & service units
  • ISO 50.001 (energy management): 1 production site
  • OHSAS 18001 (occupational health & safety): 4 production sites, 8 sales & service units

Linde Material Handling continued the work that it had begun in 2013 to implement a system for analysing environmental impact using lifecycle assessments. At the end of 2014, certified lifecycle assessment studies were available for seven product clusters. A project was also launched to implement a sustainability reporting system and an internal sustainability policy was issued.

Energy efficiency is one of the major areas of focus when it comes to the ongoing development of products. Electric-drive variants were developed for further models in 2014. STILL now includes its Blue-Q energy-saving programme in all new trucks as standard.

Checking compliance with minimum social standards and human rights is also becoming increasingly important in the purchasing function. To satisfy its own requirements and the wish of many big-ticket customers for end-to-end monitoring of the supply chain, the KION Group has developed a supplier policy that forms the basis for incorporating environmental and ethical stipulations into the supplier management process.

Furthermore, all KION Group brands acknowledge their responsibilities as corporate citizens. This is demonstrated by the fact that both the Executive Board and employees personally support numerous different environmental and charitable projects in different countries. One example is LMH’s donation to the Spessart Hills Nature Park in connection with a sales campaign in Germany for the new EVO diesel truck. Five oaks were planted for every truck sold. Many of the oak seedlings were planted by interns and apprentices from the local LMH site under the guidance of an expert.

The plant in Pune (India) held an environmental day in which all employees including the management team took part. Employees adopted the new trees that were planted during the day as a lasting, tangible reminder to look after the environment.