The European Commission presented the world’s first ever sustainable battery law in December 2020, which proposes a framework to develop a green, ethical and world-leading battery supply chain in Europe. The proposed regulation establishes for the first time a product-specific due diligence regime, with the aim of ensuring that battery raw materials such as cobalt, lithium and nickel are sourced according to high social and environmental standards.
These new rules can have a positive global impact, however, it is crucial that the European Parliament and the Council amend and correct some shortcomings in the proposal to ensure both human rights and the environment are protected wherever possible.
Specifically, the regulation presents gaps in both human rights and environmental protection. For example, currently the proposal only covers certain more severe types of human rights violations and does not provide access to justice to victims. On the environmental side, the regulation misses key environmental risks linked to air, water, soil and biodiversity damage.
T&E also recommends specific environmental instruments policymakers should consult and add to the regulation, based on research done by Levin Sources.