The European Commission’s recent proposal for the world’s first ever sustainable battery law offers a unique opportunity to introduce smart regulations that can underpin the development of a green, ethical and world-leading battery supply chain in Europe. To do so, T&E outlines three key areas along the battery value chain that need to be addressed.
- Ensure the ethical sourcing of battery materials by requiring battery makers (or importers) to apply the OECD Due Diligence guidelines (devised to respect human rights and ensure ethical supply chains) on their activities globally and along their entire supply chain. Additional requirements on environmental protection should also be put in place, and copper should be added to the list of materials covered to avoid loopholes in the battery supply chain.
- Incentivise low carbon battery production by setting robust carbon footprint rules from upstream to downstream through the battery value chain, to ensure battery makers use clean (or green) energy and best-in-class production processes. Guarantees of origin alone should not be accepted as evidence for renewable energy use in production.
- Promote a circular battery value chain and reduce demand for new mining by removing barriers to reuse applications and setting ambitious recycling targets requiring recovery rates of at least 90% (and higher where possible) for each of the key battery materials. Much higher targets than currently proposed should, in particular, be set for lithium recovery.