Sustainability Strategy and Management

Sustainability has been firmly anchored in the “KION 2027” corporate strategy as an individual field of action for many years. The KION Group takes a systematic, Group-wide approach to the operational implementation of its sustainability strategy and the underlying sustainability program.

As part of the KION Group, Linde MH follows the Group-wide rules and principles for sustainable corporate governance. The company has also put in place company-specific guidelines and tools to ensure that sustainability criteria are firmly embedded in the operational business. These include the sustainability policy, guidelines for integrated health, safety, and environment (HSE) management, and life cycle assessments, which reliably show the environmental impact of products and solutions.

Linde MH’s sustainability approach is based on the materiality analysis conducted by the KION Group. The materiality analysis was updated in 2022, and any potentially material aspects were identified and evaluated as part of this process. These aspects are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and are based on global surveys of key stakeholder groups, among other things. Topics are assessed with regard to their relevance to the KION Group from three perspectives: relevance to the business (outside-in, opportunities and risks for the Group’s business development), impact of the organization (inside-out, impact of the Group’s business activities on the environment and society), and relevance to stakeholders (importance with regard to the development and shaping of expectations and decision-making on the part of stakeholders). Supported by the KION Group’s materiality analysis, eight closely interlinked fields of action along the value chain were consolidated and developed further in the year under review.

Group-wide Materiality Analysis

Guiding Principles/Action Fields

At Linde MH, sustainability is linked to the wider-reaching targets and initiatives organized into the three strategic dimensions of people, products, and processes, always in keeping with the overall principle of “We take responsibility.” These three dimensions provide the framework for the eight sustainability fields of action. Derived from the KION Group sustainability strategy and the materiality analysis, Linde MH pursues a specific program in these fields of action with targets, measures, and monitoring designed to meet the expectations of its stakeholders as well as political and legal requirements.

Group-wide Fields of Action


Linde MH has a company history spanning over 120 years, including more than 50 years in material flow solutions. The Aschaffenburg-based company may have its origins in Germany but today it is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of forklift trucks and warehouse handling equipment. As a technology leader in the industry, Linde MH offers a wide range of industrial trucks, automation, safety, and energy solutions, fleet management and warehouse management software, and comprehensive services. Linde MH has been part of the KION Group since 2006 and manages production sites in Germany, France, the Czech Republic, and Poland.

The company delivers top performance under even the most challenging operating conditions. Alongside its desire to produce high-performance drive systems, safety and user-friendliness are Linde MH’s top priorities: Precise load handling, outstanding maneuverability, intuitive operation, and an ergonomic driver’s workstation guarantee excellent handling performance and productivity. In addition, the trucks can be seamlessly integrated into fleet management or warehouse management systems using wireless data transmission and digital interfaces. When combined with comprehensive energy, safety, and automation solutions and optimal integration into customers’ business processes, the result is holistic solutions for networked, safe, and sustainable intralogistics.

In the field of electromobility, Linde MH is currently the only manufacturer to offer electric counterbalanced forklift trucks in the form of its X models. With their high power and robust design, these models offer a real alternative to trucks powered by an internal combustion engine. Customers have at their disposal a quiet and practically emission-free alternative that can handle even the most challenging of applications without compromising on performance.

With a large rental fleet of almost 43,000 trucks, Linde MH offers a high level of flexibility, whether customers want to take advantage of the various options available to them—leasing, long-term rental, or hire—or prefer to opt for a used Linde forklift, which are all refurbished in accordance with standardized specifications throughout Europe.

Sustainability Organization

Linde MH follows the systematic approach of the KION Group for the operational implementation of its sustainability strategy. Specific strategic (quantitative) sustainability targets, the main levers, and the relevant KPIs are defined for each of the eight fields of action. These are defined in further detail and implemented within the scope of comprehensive programs of measures (for further information, see the KION Sustainability Report 2022). The revision of the individual targets, further breakdowns, and the corresponding measures are reviewed on an ongoing basis, and this includes alignment with external requirements, between the fields of action, and with internal stakeholders at Group level and in the Operating Units.

At KION Group level, the leads for the individual fields of action, the regional sustainability coordinators, and central sustainability management work as part of a steering committee to ensure that the sustainability program is uniform across the Group, continually enhanced, and implemented. The KION Group’s central sustainability management manages and coordinates the sustainability program throughout the Group, defines sustainability-related key figures, and tracks target achievement within the strategy and in the fields of action. It ensures coordination between the individual fields of action and Operating Units and within the Group. It also provides specialist support internally and externally where necessary.

Progress at Group level and in the Operating Units is regularly reviewed (e.g., at steering committee meetings) and reported to the Executive Board of KION GROUP AG. As of May 1, 2023, a new Board member—the Chief People and Sustainability Officer—took over the area of sustainability in addition to the tasks of Labor Director.


The KION Group intends to commit to the targets of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). As part of this commitment, which the Group expects to finalize in 2023, it is setting itself the long-term climate target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions along its value chain by 2050. Key interim targets have been set for 2030 (see targets in the KION Sustainability Report 2022). Linde MH thus has a basic methodological framework for its actions and is committed to the objective of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The climate management targets are to be developed further in 2023 in accordance with the SBTi criteria. The KION Group is aiming to obtain official validation from the SBTi for 2024.

As a supplier, Linde MH has been regularly assessed and certified in relation to its corporate responsibility by the independent service provider EcoVadis since 2012. The company has been awarded the Gold rating, representing an above-average score in its peer group of rated companies, since 2019. The analysis system on which the rating is based comprises 21 criteria from the four thematic areas of environment, labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. The methodology is based on international sustainability standards, such as the Global Reporting Initiative, the Conventions of the International Labour Organization, the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the ISO 26000 sustainability guidance.

Linde MH is also a partner of the sustainability initiative Blue Competence. This initiative of the Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V. (German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) aims to promote sustainability in mechanical and plant engineering and raise awareness of sustainable solutions in the industry. As part of this partnership, Linde MH has committed to upholding the 12 sustainability principles of mechanical and plant engineering.

Another initiative that Linde MH is supporting with qualified environmental services is the Bavarian Environmental and Climate Pact. Participating companies are committed to conserving resources and using environmentally friendly technologies to achieve “green economic growth.” To this end, topic-specific working groups have been formed to formulate goals and make recommendations for implementation. The working groups are supported by external experts where necessary. Linde MH has recently been awarded the Pact certificate, which is valid for three years.