Management approach to the environment


Environmental responsibility comprises two aspects for the KION Group and its operating units. On the one hand, it intends to help its customers save energy, reduce emissions as well as improve efficiency and performance (see the section Products and solutions). On the other hand, within the Company the KION Group aims to reduce its environmental impact, and create environmental and economic benefits through the responsible use of resources. Furthermore, it is the Company’s intention to have safe working processes across the entire KION Group that do not have a negative impact on its employees’ health. In this regard, its activities focus on its plants around the world as well as its sales and service companies. Also when installing supply chain solutions at customers’ locations, it places great emphasis on ensuring on-site occupational health and safety (for further information on occupational health and safety see the section Employees).

The KION Group Code of Compliance (KGCC) and the HSE policy derived from it provide the frameworks for its activities, particularly in terms of complying with national regulations and standards. Furthermore, it pledges to:

  • use energy and raw materials efficiently,
  • utilise materials, products and procedures which meet the best environmental practices in each case,
  • minimise the amount of waste it produces by improving raw material use and utilising recyclable materials,
  • establish safe working conditions and ensure they remain so, as well as train its employees accordingly (see the sections Employees/Occupational Safety).

The underlying approach and cornerstone of its health, safety and environment (HSE) activities have been embedded since as long ago as 2013 in the KION Group HSE policy. It was updated in 2017 alongside the implementation of the KION sustainability strategy. Now, its next milestone is to introduce a Group-wide minimum HSE standard by the end of 2017.

It has also set out HSE regulations at an operating unit level as well as at a sales and service company level. While these are based on the Group standard, they set specific strategic priorities based on local considerations.

Within the framework of its sustainability strategy, the KION Group is increasingly incorporating environmental aspects in a range of action fields from environmental and climate protection, resource efficiency, social and environmental standards in the supply chain, through to energy- and resource-efficient products (see the section Products and solutions). The KION Group sets specific objectives in the individual action fields, and defines measures to improve its environmental performance, which it will further expand upon and set out in more detail in its first steering committee meeting in autumn 2017.

> Figure 15 provides an overview of the key elements of HSE management at the KION Group. Internal regulations form the basis of the Group’s activities in this area with certification processes and audits, extensive reporting with ongoing performance checks and also internal competition within the Company helping to ensure that it meets the objectives it sets itself. This creates a stronger awareness of environmental protection in the individual entities, supported by powerful instruments and processes. The goal is to achieve a proactive corporate structure geared towards environmental protection, as has already been established – particularly in the area of occupational safety.

Figure 15 Key elements of HSE management

House of HSE (Grafik)

Instruments and processes

It employs a range of processes and tools to help it manage HSE at the KION Group. The KION audit programme, which monitors compliance with laws as well as internal HSE standards through regular audits, is of central importance. In 2016 nine audits were performed by the HSE Group function within the KION Group, in addition to numerous additional audits at operating unit level.

So far, the audits have focused on the KION Group’s production plants. It is now also systematically integrating its sales and service companies into its HSE audit programme at Group level, in addition to the existing audit processes at individual operating unit level.

Results of KION Group environmental protection audits 2012-2017

Table 7


Current audit

Current audit

Previous audit


Basis: 13 plants, and initial audit for 4 plants

Basis: 13 plants

Basis: 13 plants

April 2017

Average result:
Level of fulfilment of the defined audit criteria (max. 100 percent)




Another important tool for HSE management is the central management report, which is produced annually by the operating unit and plant HSE departments. In it, those responsible report on their activities, describe the current situation as well as their goals, and produce specific action plans with KPIs. The individual measures and KPIs are scrutinised and recorded as part of the audit programme to ensure implementation.

This structured approach serves to ensure the set objectives are implemented and the necessary standards are met. One proof of the success of this methodology is the fact that there were no significant pollution incidents in the reporting year. Furthermore, no significant fines or penalties for non-compliance with environmental standards were imposed either.

Internal communication and corporate culture as critical success factors

In the field of HSE in particular, internal communication and employee motivation are crucial to success. The objective is to establish a culture in which sustainable practices become part of the everyday work of each individual employee. Here too, the KION Group has numerous initiatives – ranging from the regular meeting of experts in the HSE network, through to its Group-wide Safety Championship (see also KION Safety Championship), which is soon to be expanded to include environmental aspects.

An intranet site raises employee awareness about the topic of HSE, encouraging them to use resources responsibly. In the reporting year, it updated the site and made it more user-friendly. Accessible by all employees, it includes all relevant regulations and also serves as a platform to exchange information at a local level as well as to share best practices between individual locations. Regular meetings and conferences involving those responsible for HSE together with routine reporting in internal media round off the package of internal HSE communication measures.

From Measurement to Control – KPI Management Established

The KION Group has had an internal HSE reporting system ever since the KION Group was established over a decade ago. To allow targeted control of KPIs, and to establish a basis for internal and external reporting, in 2016 the KION Group centralised data management of all sustainability performance indicators in a Group-wide software solution which is accessible across the Group.

118 reporting entities, comprising 34 plants and 84 sales and service units, report monthly or annually on a host of aspects, ensuring that regular, up-to-date input is provided to manage activities (as at: June 2017).

In 2016 it also started assessing all locations in relation to their HSE risks. The starting point was a questionnaire which it developed in the reporting year that throws light on the risk situation at each location. The first assessment will be completed in 2017, with initial findings already showing that the KION Group has an average cross-sector HSE risk ranking. For the Group, environmental risks are posed by a variety of factors including its foundries and paint shops. In addition, the topic of environmental protection is also of relevance when working on customers’ sites owing to the very different areas of deployment. To meet these demands, Linde Material Handling EMEA, for instance, has a comprehensive policy which governs service-related activities from maintenance to waste disposal (see also the section Employees).

Group-wide certification is the objective

Certified management systems establish clear, reproducible processes and require documentation of achieved standards; in doing so they lay the basis for systematic further development in central action fields. The KION Group aims to gradually establish a certified HSE system – and where practical, also an energy management system at all of its locations. To achieve this objective it certified additional locations in 2016, with the Indaiatuba production plant in Brazil, among others, receiving certification for all three topic areas.

Since 2016 the KION Group has employed the ISO certification system at all of its plants, as well as at sales and service locations globally. > Table 8 shows the current level of certification. By 2019 all plants as well as sales and service locations are to be ISO 14001 (environmental management) certified. In the same year, it also aims to have rolled out an ISO 50001 compliant energy management system at its 25 reporting entities with the greatest energy use. Other equivalent certification systems such as Sicher mit System (‘Systematic Safety’) in Germany or EMAS are also permitted.

In the reporting year, 492 internal and 53 external environmental-management audits were performed at its operating units in addition to its central HSE Group audits*.

Environmental management system certification status


Table 8


ISO 14001*

Percentage certified

Percentage of employees covered

June 2017; 299 locations considered; excluding Dematic


or equivalent standard




Sales and service locations






Focus areas and challenges

Active environmental and climate protection as well as responsible use of resources are of top priority to the KION Group. The Company takes into consideration environmental and economic aspects, as a constant reduction in the amount of energy it uses improves both its production cost structure as well as the Group’s CO2 footprint. A lower volume of waste, achieved by preventing waste, and a higher recycling rate also have direct impact on the bottom line.

In the area of the environment, the KION Group has identified a host of key objectives, including ensuring that it meets environmental laws around the world – an ongoing task at a company with hundreds of locations in over 30 countries with ever-changing environmental frameworks.

But the KION Group intends to go further. The heart of its self-commitment is to continuously improve – an aspiration that drives the Company and its employees. This is why the KION Group intends to go beyond statutory regulations in terms of climate protection and resource efficiency, and is currently setting itself ambitious targets to reduce its CO2 footprint across the entire value chain. To ensure it uses resources as efficiently as possible, it considers a product’s entire lifecycle. In doing so, a clear hierarchy applies, where avoidance takes priority over reduction, reuse and recycling.