Organisation and management


The Executive Board of KION GROUP AG is responsible for the operational management of the KION Group. As at the end of 2016, it comprises four members.

The Executive Board maintains a trusting relationship with, and is monitored by, the Company’s Supervisory Board. This also advises the Executive Board in its handling of core tasks and major business transactions. The Supervisory Board’s size and composition is governed by the German Codetermination Act (MitbestG). KION GROUP AG’s Supervisory Board comprises 16 members, consisting of eight shareholder and eight employee representatives.

For further information on the duties and composition of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board of KION GROUP AG, see the Corporate governance report which is available online as part of the Annual Report 2016.

The Executive Board and Supervisory Board of KION GROUP AG believe that an uncompromising commitment to rigorous corporate governance oriented on best practice standards is essential to the Company’s long-term success. Compliance with these principles also promotes the trust that its investors, employees, business partners and the public have in the management and monitoring of the Company.

The KION Group works according to recognised standards of good, responsible corporate governance. The German Corporate Governance Code (DCGK) guides how it manages and controls the Company. The KION Group fulfils all of the DCGK’s recommendations aside from one relating to an excess in the D&O insurance policies for Supervisory and Executive Board members. The annual declaration of compliance which it is required to submit in accordance with section 161 of the German Stock Corporate Act (AktG) is accessible on its corporate website. Further information can also be found in the Corporate governance report.

To ensure professional and responsible corporate governance, the Executive Board needs to rely on the risk management system established in the Company to regularly gather information about current risks and how they are evolving, and then report on this to the Supervisory Board’s Audit Committee. The KION Group’s risk management system is documented in a Group risk policy that defines tasks, processes and responsibilities, and sets out the rules to identify, assess, report and manage risk. Specific individual risks are then reported by the relevant Group entity using an online reporting tool. Reporting on cross-segment risks and Group-wide risks is carried out by Corporate Controlling and the relevant departments. The risks that have been reported are reviewed on a quarterly basis and re-assessed until the reason for reporting a risk no longer exists (see the Risk report in the Combined Management Report section of the Annual Report 2016).

Sustainability organisation

Clear responsibilities for a sustainable approach

Taking a sustainable approach is linked with clear responsibilities at the KION Group. For this purpose, the overall structure of the KION Group’s sustainability management system, as described below, was approved by the KION Group Executive Board at the start of 2017.

While the Executive Board’s decisions ensure that the Company’s sustainability aspirations are underpinned by specific measures, its Sustainability steering committee will ensure going forward that the Group’s sustainability programme is uniform across the Company and continually developed further (> Figure 8). To do so, it monitors the activities and achievements in each action field, taking corrective action as and when required. The Sustainability steering committee will convene for the first time in autumn 2017, and then meet biannually.

The sustainability programme agreed by the KION Group Sustainability steering committee will subsequently be presented to the KION Group Sustainability Board, which comprises members of the Group Executive Committee (GEC) – members of the KION Group Executive Board and the Presidents of the operating units – for formal adoption. The Sustainability Management head office department controls and coordinates the sustainability programme in the Group, sets sustainability KPI targets and monitors their achievement. It also ensures the individual action fields, units and activities within the Group are coordinated, and is available to provide support as the specialist in this area. Each person responsible for an action field manages their specific programme, and has full responsibility over their allocated budgets and resources. They are also responsible for implementing the agreed packages of measures, through to their expansion to cover the operating units and subsidiaries, whereby they coordinate their activities with the sustainability coordinators in the operating units. At an operational level, each unit establishes its own sustainability programmes that correspond to the KION Group action field model, which are in turn broken down to a local level. When the KION Group Sustainability steering committee convenes, both those responsible for the action fields as well as the operating unit coordinators report back on the progress achieved to date, and develop the programme further.

Figure 8 KION Group Sustainability steering committee as a central element of the sustainability organisation

Steuerkreis Nachhaltigkeit als zentrales Element der Nachhaltigkeitsorganisation (Grafik)

Principles and guidelines

Comprehensive sustainability regulations

The KION Group sustainability strategy and the corresponding objectives are based on existing Group-wide standards and codes of conduct which ensure rules and regulations are complied with (> Table 4). These include the KION Group Code of Compliance (KGCC), which sets out the guidelines for ethical, value-based and lawful business activities. The KGCC is available in 22 languages and is binding on all of the Group’s employees around the world. It sets out clear rules that include clear guidance on correct conduct between employees and their colleagues, as well as on how they deal with customers, partners and the public.

As a German corporation, KION GROUP AG is primarily subject to German law. At the same time, the Company is required to uphold national laws at its global locations. The KGCC provides rules in case of a collision of legal jurisdiction applying for the same circumstances.

If local legislation contains more stringent provisions than German legislation, local laws and regulations apply. If local laws around the world are less stringent than German legislation, the KION Group can decide as a Group whether a more stringent regulation is generally desired, appropriate or legally necessary. These regulations are then laid down and published in internal policies and instructions. The national companies may also issue more stringent internal guidelines to take into consideration local customs or other considerations in a suitable manner. Group policies apply across the Company, unless they infringe or contradict local laws. Its Compliance or Legal departments are the point of contact in all cases of doubt in terms of legal requirements. The KION Group Code of Compliance is available on the KION Group’s corporate website.

Furthermore, the KION Group’s Company-wide compliance programme covers further regulations which apply across the Group (> Table 4). These include its primarily internally-focused KION policies on a range of specialist topics, the KION Group Principles of Supplier Conduct, and KION Compliance Principles for external business partners.

Among other things, the Group HSE policy requires as a minimum that every company in the KION Group observes all relevant national laws, codes of conduct and industry standards. In addition, they are to ensure safe working conditions and that employees are trained accordingly. Furthermore, environmental impacts must be avoided as far as possible (see also the section Environment).

Additionally, sustainability aspects are embedded in the KION Group Principles of Supplier Conduct and Purchasing Terms, which its suppliers and service providers are required to observe. Sustainability aspects, particularly in relation to environmental and resource protection as well as occupational safety, also play a major role when the Company develops new or enhances existing products. For further information, see the sections Products and Employees in this report.

At Group level, minimum employment standards apply based on the fundamental conventions drawn up by the International Labour Organization (ILO). These include freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of child and forced labour, and a ban on discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. The Group currently monitors its units’ compliance with its minimum employment standards by means of a self-assessment as part of annual internal sustainability reporting activities. In the reporting period the KION Group was not notified of any significant incidents or violations of minimum employment standards. Furthermore, the KION Group is committed to ensuring health and safety standards in the workplace and to paying its employees in line with the industry average in their respective country, and at the very least providing them with a living wage. It devoted the Employees section of this report to the KION Group’s responsibility as an employer.

To ensure that the minimum standards are also complied with by external partners or in joint ventures, contracts typically include a clause based on the KION Group Code of Compliance which, among other things, requires the contracting parties to observe human rights.

Table 4Group-wide sustainability principles and guidelines



Compliance Principles for Independent Partners in KION’s sales and service organisation

Commits its sales and service partners to uphold the KION Group’s compliance principles

Principles of Supplier Conduct

Set out the principles with which the KION Group expects its suppliers to comply

KION Group Code of Compliance

Its Code of Conduct sets the guidelines for all employees across the KION Group to act lawfully and ethically

HSE policy

Health, safety and environment policy relating to employees, customers and the community at large

Policy on international minimum employment standards

Explanation of the underlying social rights and principles; excludes child and forced labour

Guideline on avoiding conflicts of interest

Describes the principles governing KION’s business relationships

Donations Policy

The principles of social involvement set out the focus and requirements for donation and sponsorship activities

In its sustainability communication activities the KION Group strives to meet the requirements of transparent reporting in accordance with the internationally recognised guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). It plans to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and it is currently reviewing whether to sign up to the UN Global Compact.

Other sustainability reporting commitments mainly exist for individual subsidiaries. In terms of customer benefit, the assessment by EcoVadis is particularly noteworthy. This assessment is performed regularly for key units (e.g. STILL EMEA and Linde Material Handling EMEA), and it plans to implement it for others. Furthermore, the KION Group is involved in local programmes through its units. Among them, STILL EMEA is actively involved as part of its Umweltpartnerschaft Hamburg (Environmental Partnership) activities and its membership of the German Environmental Management Association and B.A.U.M.; Linde Material Handling EMEA is active in the Umweltpakt Bayern (Environmental Pact of Bavaria) and in the Blue Competence initiative of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA).