Acting responsibly has always been one of the principles by which the KION Group and its brand companies operate. They strive for a balance between environmental, economic and social considerations in their business activities. This focus on sustainability is reflected in the Group’s 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.

Sustainability management

In 2016, the KION Group continued to work on the groupwide sustainability management system that it had begun to establish the previous year. To this end, the reporting system introduced as part of a pilot project for Linde Material Handling was rolled out to the other departments and brand companies, although the new subsidiary Dematic is not yet included.

Specifically, a groupwide structure for sustainability was developed and a corresponding management structure was implemented in 2016. In addition, the preparations for a groupwide internal reporting system were completed, the relevant key performance indicators were defined and the preliminary work on organisational structures and content were carried out in preparation for publishing a separate sustainability report. All of the fully consolidated units of the KION Group are included in the sustainability reporting system.

The Group Executive Committee decides on the strategy, objectives and reporting process for sustainability. In addition, the CFO chairs the Sustainability Steering Committee, whose members include the sustainability managers in the individual operating units, the head of sustainability for the entire KION Group and the people responsible for the various sustainability-related action areas.

For each action area, an individual programme has been, or will be, created that sets out objectives and measures for refining the sustainability activities on an ongoing basis. Responsibility for implementing these measures lies with the person in charge of the action area.

The sustainability objectives define the minimum standard that applies to the entire KION Group. Individual units are permitted to achieve higher standards in their sustainability activities or to tailor them to their needs as appropriate.

The development of the sustainability strategy and related objectives builds on existing groupwide standards and rules of conduct, such as the KION Group Code of Compliance. This defines clear rules, including on the correct way for employees to interact with each other as well as with customers, partners and the public. All other standards and initiatives, e.g. relating to health, safety and the environment (HSE), are derived from the code. It is available to the public on the KION Group website.

The corporate policy on workplace safety, health and the environment defines a number of requirements for the KION Group companies including compliance with, as a minimum, all relevant national laws, codes of conduct and industry standards, ensuring safe working conditions and providing employees with the necessary training. Adverse effects on the environment must also be avoided as far as possible.

The KION Group’s objective is to gradually establish a certified system for quality, environmental and occupational health and safety management at all sites. Further sites obtained such certification in 2016, including the Indaiatuba production facility in Brazil, which became certified in all three areas for the first time in 2016.

Social aspects

Minimum standards for employment apply at Group level that are 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.

Information on the KION Group’s major projects and developments in the area of health and safety can be found in the relevant part of the ‘Employees’ section.

Environmental protection

Furthermore, the release of pollutants, discharge and emissions into the environment should be avoided as far as possible and the volume of waste should be reduced by making better use of raw materials and using recyclable materials. Materials, products and processes that comply with best environmental practice should be deployed; resources, energy and raw materials should be used efficiently.

In the year under review, the KION Group set itself the medium-term objective of eliminating components that are manufactured using chromium trioxide (chromium VI). Aspects of sustainability are enshrined in the KION Group’s purchasing terms, which must be adhered to by suppliers and service providers. Sustainability – particularly protection of the environment, conservation of resources and workplace safety – is an important consideration when developing new products and enhancing existing ones.

Transparent reporting on sustainability

The first groupwide sustainability report is planned for publication in the third quarter of 2017. As well as comprehensively describing the strategy, management approach and structures for sustainability, the report will contain data on relevant key performance indicators and details of the KION Group’s success in its endeavours to develop sustainable products. For this reason, the KION Group has not provided information on individual sustainability KPIs in the 2016 annual report.