Position paper: Europe needs an ambitious regulatory framework to guarantee sustainability of batteries

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Adopting sustainability requirements for batteries is crucial, as the electrification and decarbonisation of various sectors, such as mobility and energy storage, depends on the rechargeable battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries represent a rapidly growing global market which warrants an EU level response to avoid lock in to linear sub-standard industrial patterns and give a competitive advantage to EU industry to compete on quality. To fully capture the benefits of decarbonising the economy through electrification we need to address the environmental impact of battery production in terms of CO2 emissions, resource depletion and ethical sourcing.

Although batteries will be an essential product in the EU’s pathway to decarbonization, their material composition and non-use phase impacts necessitates that they are viewed as highly valued and strategic products from the EU environmental policy point of view. In the context of sustainable production and consumption, this means accelerating the roll out of well-designed clean, circular and durable batteries, while avoiding stifling innovation or that unnecessary, wasteful and polluting products reach the market. If batteries are made easy to refurbish, re-use and maintain for as long as possible, there is also an occasion to create new local jobs in the EU.

Following the discussions at the stakeholder meeting on the preparatory study on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling which took place on 2 May 2019, ECOS and a number of NGOs are concerned about the lack of a clear vision on what could be an ambitious, effective, and fit-for-purpose European regulatory framework for batteries.

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