The idea behind our sustainability strategy is taking responsibility.

We are helping our customers
to implement their own sustainability programs which are key to their commercial success.

The image section of this year’s annual report focuses on sustainability, sustainable growth and how the KION Group is responding to the opportunities presented by the intralogistics market. Gordon Riske, Chief Executive Officer, and Holger Hoppe, Head of Sustainability Management, describe why and how KION is taking action on sustainability.

A dialogue Gordon Riske and Holger Hoppe on KION's responsibility and sustainability.

The theme of this year’s annual report is ‘response & responsibility’ – what does this mean?

Gordon Riske: It means that we are not only responding to our customers and becoming a more sustainable company, but we are also taking responsibility for the society we live in. For us, being responsible also means acting as a good corporate citizen. I am hugely proud of our employees who take responsibility in fantastic corporate volunteering initiatives in their communities around the globe – the Dematic employees who really care and help poor children in Mexico, or their US counterparts supporting a local food bank in Utah. And not forgetting the Chinese employees at Linde in Xiamen who do their bit for the environment by collecting plastic bottles.

I am hugely proud of our employees who take responsibility in fantastic corporate volunteering initiatives in their communities around the globe.

Gordon Riske
CEO
KION Group
Society

How do you give something back?

By offering a helping hand to those in need.

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Over the last couple of years, our colleagues in Summerville have made a real effort with their waste reduction programme, increasing the amount of production waste that is recycled.

Holger Hoppe
Head of Sustainability Management
KION Group
Environment

How is sun harnessed for production?

Using solar energy.

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But sustainability in general is more than corporate volunteering alone – why is sustainability important for KION and can you summarise what you are doing?

Gordon Riske: Our overall strategic sustainability goal is to be a leader in our industry in terms of our sustainability efforts. Sustainability is very important for the KION Group for a variety of reasons, not least because we have a very diverse set of stakeholders, ranging from customers and shareholders, employees and business partners, to neighbours and the public. By aligning our actions with environmental, social and economic concerns, we are also helping our customers to implement their own sustainability programmes, which are key to their commercial success.

Holger Hoppe: The idea behind our sustainability strategy is taking responsibility. We want to deliver value for society and our stakeholders. The strategy rests on four pillars: performance, products, processes and people. If you look at those pillars they are about taking a long-term business approach, offering innovative, efficient products to our customers, having a clear process for our management system, and – last but not least – being a great place for our employees to work.

Can you give us an example of how this sustainability strategy works in practice?

Holger Hoppe: Sure, look at KION’s headquarters and factory in Summerville. They are a great example of how our sustainability strategy is being put into action. Over the last couple of years, they have made a real effort with their waste reduction programme, increasing the amount of production waste that is recycled. But our colleagues there are going even further. They’re now going to install solar panels in production that will cover more than 80 per cent of their electricity consumption.

Energy- and resource-efficient products certainly play a key role in our product portfolio.

Gordon Riske
CEO
KION Group

With regard to the sustainability of your product offering, KION is particularly active in energy and resource efficiency and innovative solutions – can you give us some specific examples?

Gordon Riske: Energy- and resource-efficient products certainly play a key role in our product portfolio. Over 80 per cent of the industrial trucks in the KION product mix are now powered by electricity.

Holger Hoppe: This is of key importance for our customers because they are able to power those trucks using renewable energy – so it is virtually emission-free. Secondly, they also have the option of eliminating emissions from the local production process.

Gordon Riske: In the field of innovative solutions, KION has come up with many solutions for reducing the number of workplace accidents, for instance – a core sustainability goal for us and for our customers.

Holger Hoppe: Right now, to name just one example, our customer Smurfit Kappa is making use of an innovative safety feature – a device that vibrates or emits a sound if a person comes too close to a forklift truck, which makes everything much safer.

80%
of the industrial trucks in the KION product mix are powered by electricity.

Product responsibility doesn’t end with a new truck; it also covers the ‘second-life approach’.

Holger Hoppe
Head of Sustainability Management
KION Group
Safety

How safe is safe?

We check this out with routine safety audits.

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Product responsibility is another important aspect of sustainability – what are you doing in this respect?

Holger Hoppe: Product responsibility doesn’t end with a new truck; it also covers the ‘second-life approach’. It’s why we have just opened a new remanufacturing center for Linde trucks in the Czech Republic, which allows them to embark on a second or even third life for our customers. But if you really think about this topic, it doesn’t end with the product itself. Workplace safety at our production facilities is also very important to us. A good example is our audit system, where we look at environmental and health and safety aspects at all our sites, assessing how we are doing at each one and making improvements if necessary.