The European Commission wants to improve the sustainability of batteries – and rightly so. Demand for batteries is accelerating fast, putting pressure on raw material resources. The world needs sustainable batteries to help meet the EU 2050 climate goals, particularly in transport and in the integration of renewable energy. The Commission has proposed a new Regulation which will replace the existing Batteries Directive, which focused essentially on the collection and recycling of used batteries.
To further minimize the environmental impact of batteries along their entire life cycle, the draft Regulation aims at reducing the pressure on raw materials by requiring that recycling processes be more efficient at extracting valuable materials. Aligning the industry with the Paris agreement, it also mandates the calculation and disclosure of the carbon footprint of the manufacture of batteries.
A second objective is to enhance the industry circularity by both creating the conditions for the safe reuse of batteries after their first life and strengthening the take back and recycling obligations borne by producers.
Lastly, the draft Regulation requires that battery manufacturers develop and implement a due diligence program to ensure their supply chain meets widely accepted human rights, social and environmental standards.
Saft is working hard to ensure the rules proposed by the Commission are crafted in such a way that they take into consideration the specificities of all markets, from large volume EV batteries to highly specialized batteries for complex markets such as space or aviation.
To achieve this goal, Saft works through the two European industry associations which represent the whole EU rechargeable battery industry: Recharge which we chair, and Eurobat where we coordinate the Regulatory Task Force.
Carbon footprint, enhanced recycling and supply chain due diligence are the three areas of focus.
The legislation aims at ensuring that buyers can identify and choose batteries with the lowest carbon footprint. That will rely on real-world data on CO2 emissions at every step in the sourcing and processing of raw materials, as well as in the manufacture of all battery components and their assembly into a finished product.
This will help us further reduce the manufacturing carbon footprint of our products. Combined with their very long life, this ensures that for each unit of service delivered, our products have the lowest CO2 footprint on the market.
This is becoming a key differentiator for many of our customers which are now engaged in a carbon reduction or neutrality program.