New rules on batteries: MEPs want more environmental and social ambition

(Source: European Parliament)

Batteries to be more sustainable and easier to replace, including on smartphones

Due diligence standards across the entire value chain

More ambitious targets for waste management

   

Parliament is ready to negotiate with EU governments on the final shape of the new rules governing the entire battery product life cycle, from design to end-of-life.

During the debate on Wednesday, MEPs underlined the crucial role that batteries have in the transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy and for the EU’s competitiveness and strategic autonomy. The draft legislation was adopted on Thursday with 584 votes in favour, 67 against and 40 abstentions.

MEPs are in favour of overhauling the current legislation to take into account technological developments.

They propose stronger requirements on sustainability, performance and labelling, including the introduction of a new category of “batteries for ‘light means of transport’ (LMT)”, such as electric scooters and bikes, and rules on a carbon footprint declaration and label. By 2024, portable batteries in appliances, such as smartphones, and batteries for LMT must be designed so that consumers and independent operators can easily and safely remove them themselves, MEPs say.

According to the adopted position, industry should ensure that the battery value chain complies fully with human rights and due diligence obligations, thus addressing risks around the sourcing, processing and trading of raw materials, which are often concentrated in one or a few countries.

The report also sets minimum levels of recovered cobalt, lead, lithium and nickel from waste for reuse in new batteries and more stringent collection targets for portable batteries.

More details on specific requirements can be found here.

Quote

Rapporteur Simona Bonafè (S&D, IT) said: “For the first time in European legislation, the Battery Regulation lays down a holistic set of rules to govern an entire product life cycle, from the design phase to end-of-life. This creates a new approach to boost the circularity of batteries and introduces new sustainability standards that should become a benchmark for the entire global battery market. Batteries are a key technology for fostering sustainable mobility and for storing renewable energy. To achieve the objectives of the Green Deal and to attract investment, co-legislators need to swiftly adopt clear and ambitious rules and timelines.”

Background

In December 2020, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on batteries and waste batteries. The proposal aims to strengthen the functioning of the internal market, promoting a circular economy and reducing the environmental and social impact throughout all stages of the battery life cycle. The initiative is closely linked to the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the New Industrial Strategy.

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