Made in EU Batteries: moving towards a sustainable and responsible European battery value chain
A renewed European battery legislation has been proposed with the aim of moving towards a sustainable and responsible European battery value chain. Other initiatives with the same objective are in place, such as the European Battery Alliance and the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries. As a global technology materials and recycling company it is important for Umicore to be in the heart of initiatives that impact our activities, contributing as a key technology leader in battery materials and battery recycling.
The EU has set ambitious targets as part of the Green Deal to shift to low and zero-emissions vehicles including electric cars and to shift towards clean energy to become climate neutral by 2050. Batteries are vital in this transition and the European Battery Alliance was created to enable a full “Batteries Made in EU ” value chain. The alliance resulted in a Strategic Action Plan for Batteries covering concrete actions to develop an innovative, sustainable and competitive European battery market, resulting in the important milestone of renewed battery legislation.
The last European battery legislation dates back to 2006 and the proposals to update the legal framework now encompass all aspects of a battery life: from raw materials sourcing, through production, use-phase to second life and finally to end-of-life management. Umicore is particularly satisfied with the emphasis on responsible sourcing, the policy on a low carbon production footprint and targets for the recycling of Li-ion batteries because it aligns with our priorities on sustainable corporate social responsibility and will ensure a level playing field across the value chain. Umicore already has in place its own due diligence procedure on its cobalt supply chain and we are building on state-of-the-art and proprietary production technologies to meet the highest quality standards in low carbon electricity supply. Setting quantified recycling target values for certain elements in Li-ion batteries such as cobalt, nickel and lithium, which were not previously legislated, will enable more resource efficiency and a circular economy for batteries.
The legislation is only a proposal for the moment and will need to go through the European legislative system before being enforced through all the Member States. We are looking forward to see how the final European battery legislation will be defined and Umicore will continue cooperating to a sustainable and responsible battery value chain.