Resource efficiency and use of materials


For a production company such as the KION Group, the efficient use of resources is both a key aspect of taking environmental responsibility and an operational necessity.

As it is still undertaking an accurate assessment, it has used information available as part of its Life Cycle Assessment activities to present its material use. Its Life Cycle Assessments, which were produced in 2014 at Linde Material Handling EMEA and updated in 2016, show clearly that reducing energy use in the product utilisation phase is the greatest lever in reducing the Company’s environmental impact. This is why the KION Group and its operating units pay great attention to this aspect including as part of their product development activities. However, environmental considerations also play a role in terms of material selection, whereby the KION Group always considers the overall environmental impact of a certain material or substance. In this regard its approach follows the same hierarchy as in waste management: prevent (the cheapest material is the one that is not used), reduce, reuse, recycle.

As part of the KION Group’s internal sustainability reporting process, 21 reporting entities stated that they have specific material consumption targets, ranging from increasing the recycling rate of waste batteries to reusing waste components – all without affecting quality in any way whatsoever.

Material use pilot project

To establish a Group-wide methodology to calculate its material use, it is currently running a pilot project at the German plants of Linde Material Handling EMEA. Preliminary results show a total material use of direct materials of 109.57 million tonnes (75 percent of all materials covered based on mass). This is broken down as follows into the key materials: iron 57 percent, steel 33 percent, plastic 7 percent and other materials 3 percent. The scale of these results is also confirmed by the Life Cycle Assessment of Linde Material Handling EMEA’s product range. The pilot project aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of the Group’s material footprint, which will also enable it to derive corresponding targets and measures. At the same time it will also assess the environmental impacts associated with the use of materials in the supply chain.

These measures form the basis for it to set a Group-wide target in 2018 to improve its resource consumption and start a corresponding Group-wide programme in 2019, which it will expand in 2020 to include local programmes.

Continuous Resource Efficiency Optimisation

Continuous improvement – this principle shapes the KION Group and its brands. This aspiration becomes particularly clear in relation to the Company’s resource efficiency. To give just one example, the KION plant near the Czech city of Stříbro near Pilsen employs a smart factory approach utilising digitally networked systems. The factory is based on a material handling process which is ideally suited to the KION Group. Processes are transparent, and are controlled, monitored and documented using IT systems. The plant additionally takes a high-tech, eco-friendly approach: at the paint shop in Stříbro, two lacquering robots have been in use since 2016 which have reduced paint consumption per vehicle produced by around 20 percent.