EU lawmakers are finalising the Batteries Regulation, which will set the standard for sustainable batteries made in Europe. However, civil society groups are concerned about weaknesses in the draft law’s due diligence rules. In a letter to the negotiators, they welcome the progress made by lawmakers but highlight three areas they are worried about:
The types of batteries and companies covered
The groups say that all types of batteries need to be covered by the due diligence rules, as well as all types of businesses, including SMEs. It should not matter whether the batteries are used in phones or for energy storage – the materials used to make them have sometimes been linked to human rights and environmental harm.
The regime underpinning it
The NGOs also say the due diligence regime needs to be stronger. It needs a liability regime under which companies can be held liable and provide remediation for any harm that they have caused or contributed to. They also state that participation by a company in a due diligence scheme should not be treated as an equivalent for effective due diligence.
As battery chemistries are constantly evolving, it would be shortsighted to not include copper, iron and bauxite in the due diligence regime – to help ensure they are sustainably sourced, the groups say.
The letter is addressed to the Czech presidency of the EU, all EU government ambassadors, the Rapporteur and Shadow Rapporteur MEPs, and Commissioners Breton and Sinkevičius. It is signed by 36 groups including T&E, Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth Europe, Bellona, Global Witness, European Environmental Bureau, ECOS, and many national NGOs.
To find out more, download the letter.