Europe is currently working on a new batteries regulation. A regulation that needs to be part of the effort for Europe to cut its emissions by 55% by 2030. Batteries have a key role to play in this, but one that requires a fit for purpose framework to ensure that their geopolitical, industrial and extractive implications are correctly addressed. Sustainability needs to be a central point in this regulation, as it is set to spill over into many other legislative files, and therefore needs to be done right from the onset.
In the letter, NGOs call on the Member States Environment Ministers to:
● Avoid unnecessary counter-productive delays and support – at the very least – the timelines proposed by the European Commission. Further delays will put at risk the EU’s objective to cut its emissions by 55% by 2030.
● Ensure batteries of light means of transport (LMT) are genuinely covered by key measures including carbon foot printing, durability, and recycled content, notably because this product group uses the same cells as EVs (18650 and 21700)
● Make batteries in all consumer electronics and LMTs replaceable by end users using commonly available tools and remove the problematic and unnecessary loophole for products used in wet conditions.
● Make the battery packs in LMT, industrial robots and power tools repairable by independent operators, including making spares available, and preventing the use of software locks.
● Set due diligence requirements as well as carbon footprint, performance requirements, and product passport regardless of whether for smartphones, e-bikes or cars (i.e. remove the 2kWh threshold).
● Do not allow the use of Guarantees of Origin as proof of use of renewable energy for the calculation of battery carbon footprint and ensure a real world link between energy use and supply.
● Establish due diligence requirements in the whole battery value chain that ensure economic operators not only address risks but also prevent them. The requirements should be extended to bauxite, iron, and copper, which are all key battery metals linked to environmental and human rights abuse.
● Call for high collection targets, in particular 85% for portable batteries from 2030 and 90% for light means of transport from 2025, as well as for incentives for the collection of industrial, automotive and EV batteries, including an analysis of deposit-return, and the further development of eco-modulation of fees for EPR.
● Oppose the proposed 3-year delay for battery recycling targets, to ensure they apply from 2025/26, and increase the Lithium recovery target to 70% from 2026 and 90% from 2030, as well as the recycling target for other waste batteries to 70% from 2030.
● Guarantee that value retention for batteries is maximized by including an obligation to check for the possibility of reuse.
● Promote reuse of LMT and EV batteries by creating conducive framework conditions for reuse companies. In particular, their ‘producer’ obligations should be limited, and they should be exempted from EPR charges.
● Oblige online marketplaces and fulfillment service providers to ensure that there always is an economic operator located in the EU to guarantee that the batteries they enable selling are compliant with European law and that producer and distributor obligations are fulfilled.
Read the full text here