Management approach to the environment


Environmental responsibility comprises two aspects for the KION Group and its operating units. On the one hand, the Company intends to help its customers save energy and reduce emissions as well as improve efficiency and performance (see the section Products and solutions). On the other hand, the KION Group aims to reduce its environmental impact within the Company, prevent environmental pollution, and create environmental and economic benefits through the responsible use of resources such as water. In addition, HSE management at the Company also includes the aspiration to ensure that work processes across the KION Group are safe and that they do not have a negative impact on employee health (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. This applies in particular to the compliance of national laws and standards to which the KION Group is subject as a global company. Furthermore, it pledges to:

  • use energy and raw materials efficiently
  • utilise materials, products and procedures which correspond to 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 KION Group is committed to the precautionary principle. This is explained in detail by the HSE policy, in which the underlying approach and cornerstone of the Company’s health, safety and environment (HSE) activities have been embedded ever since 2013. It was revised in 2017 in parallel to the roll-out of the KION sustainability strategy, and a Group-wide minimum HSE standard is being worked on.

The Company 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 such as protection against natural catastrophes.

Instruments and processes

KION 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, is of central importance in this regard. The results of the regular audits are evaluated systematically and taken into account in the development of the minimum HSE standards as well as in setting the top 20 measures. By focusing on measures that can be implemented very quickly and effectively, the KION Group aims to achieve a measurable impact as speedily as possible through its efforts. Implementation of the selected measures is followed up methodically. In 2017 the HSE Group function conducted nine audits (2016: nine) within the KION Group. On top of this, numerous additional audits were performed at operating unit level.

In the reporting year the central HSE audit programme was expanded to cover the sales and service companies – in addition to the individual operating units’ existing audit processes.

Results of KION Group environmental protection audits 2012-2017

Table 6


Current audit

Current audit

Previous audit


Basis: 20 plants, initial audit for 4 plants

Basis: 16 plants

Basis: 16 plants

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 the operating unit and plant HSE departments produce each year. 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.

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 business practices become part of the everyday working practices 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 was expanded in the reporting year to include environmental aspects.

An intranet site, which serves as the central information platform, raises KION employees’ awareness of the topic of HSE, encouraging them to use resources responsibly. In the reporting year, the Company updated the site content and made it more user-friendly. Accessible by all employees, it includes the full spectrum of relevant HSE 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 operated an internal HSE reporting system ever since the KION Group was established over a decade ago. Since 2016 the data for all sustainability KPIs has been managed centrally using a software solution that is accessible Group-wide. This was done to allow the KPIs to be controlled in a targeted manner and to create a basis for internal and external reporting.

In 2017 the assessment of locations in relation to their potential HSE risks was completed. The individual locations were initially assessed locally with regard to their present range of activities and the type of plant. This view was supplemented by the status of the existing management system. In addition, the risk situation was assessed from the Group’s perspective; this provided a picture that captures the individual factors while also offering a complete overview at Group level.

The results confirmed the KION Group’s previous risk assessment: the Company has an average cross-sector HSE risk rating. Environmental risks are posed by a variety of factors including 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 that governs service-related activities ranging from maintenance to waste disposal.

Based on the risk assessment, measures are currently underway to further minimise the identified risks. Furthermore, the relevant locations will undergo a targeted audit.

Group-wide certification is the objective

Certified management systems establish clear, verifiable processes and require the 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 2017, with the Stříbro production plant in the Czech Republic, among others, receiving ISO 14001 (environmental management) certification.

Since 2016 the KION Group has employed the ISO certification system at all of its production plants, as well as at sales and service support points globally. > Table 7 shows the current level of certification. By 2019 all production plants as well as sales and service locations are to be ISO 14001 certified. In the same year, KION 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 EMAS are also permitted.

In the reporting year, 349 internal and 82 external environmental management audits were performed at the Company’s operating entities in addition to its central HSE Group audits.

Environmental management system certification status

Table 7


ISO 14001*

Percentage certified

360 locations considered


or equivalent standard

Plants & Administration


Sales & Services




Focus areas and challenges

Active environmental and climate protection as well as the responsible use of resources are top priority at 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 a direct impact on the bottom line. Identifying potentials and achieving savings – especially when using resources and preventing emissions – are core challenges for the Company.

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 still. The heart of its self-commitment is to continuously improve – an aspiration that drives the Company and its employees. When it comes to climate protection, the KION Group goes beyond statutory regulations and is setting itself ambitious targets to reduce its CO2 footprint along 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.