EU companies warn against ‘counterproductive’ delays to batteries law

December 15, 2021

In a public letter, eight businesses working in the battery supply chain ask EU Environment Ministers to speed up the environmental and ethical rules that will regulate them.

European goverments should support the swift adoption and implementation of a EU battery regulation to ensure the bloc’s new industry is “born sustainable from the get go”, several battery companies have said.

In an open letter to EU Environment Ministers ahead of their meeting on 20 December, businesses including Northvolt, Talga Group, Verkor and Vulcan Energy asked their governments to drop the delays that the European Council is considering for the proposed law:

  • a delay of up to 66 months (four years compared to the EU Commission proposal) for the introduction of rules aiming at reducing batteries’ carbon footprint;
  • a delay of 36 months (two years compared to the proposal) for the phase-in of mandatory supply chain checks for environmental and human rights abuses;
  • a delay of two years or more for performance and durability requirements of batteries.

Echoing a recent letter from NGOs to the ministers, the companies said that any further delays in implementing the regulation would mean the law would come too late. The delays would deny the young European battery industry a head start over more established players which have a poor history of corporate social responsibility practices. The companies write:

“With speed the critical element in this fast growing industry, any further delays in implementing the regulation will be too late to give European newcomers a head start over larger incumbent players in the race to dominate this key strategic technology.”

Denying them this advantage under the law would be bad for Europe’s industry – but it would also hold back the establishment of a clean and ethical battery supply chain in Europe. This would endanger the sustainability of the transition to zero-emissions transport.

“Europe is endowed with the raw materials and energy needed to make the world’s most sustainable batteries,” Mark Thompson, founder and managing director of Talga Group, said. “However, Europe will only transition to a truly green economy if the EU adopts an ambitious batteries regulation policy and speeds up its permitting processes for new local projects.”

Raw materials and recycling company Eramet, said: “The electric vehicle market is growing fast. We must act now to develop large-scale electric mobility in Europe. At Eramet, we are convinced that it is imperative to put in place an ambitious legislative framework to build a competitive, ethical and sustainable battery industry. As actors in this value chain from the supply of raw materials to battery production and recycling, we all have solutions to contribute to Europe’s essential energy transition, and this needs to happen today.”

Skeleton Technologies added: “Europe has all the right resources and innovators to lead the development of the multi-billion EV industry and decarbonised electricity production. To keep innovating and lead in the strategic field of existing and future battery technologies, the EU needs an ambitious batteries regulation policy. It shouldn’t be delayed, as decarbonisation shouldn’t be delayed either.”

To find out more, download the letter.

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