EU Sustainable Batteries Regulation
As part of the EU Green Deal and building on the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries, the European Commission proposed in 2020 a new regulation on batteries and waste batteries to replace the Batteries Directive (Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators). The new regulation would repeal Directive 2006/66/EC and amend Regulation (EU) No 2019/1020.
The regulation's main objectives are: (1) to strengthen the functioning of the internal market by ensuring a level playing field through a common set of rules; (2) to promote a circular economy; and (3) to reduce environmental and social impacts throughout all stages of the battery lifecycle.
The regulation will establish requirements for sustainability, safety and labelling of batteries as well as requirements for end-of-life management. One significant improvement to the Batteries Directive is that manufacturers are required to ensure that batteries are readily removable and replaceable during the lifetime of the appliance. Also significant are the supply chain due diligence obligations for rechargeable industrial and e-vehicle batteries, which includes a supply chain due diligence program for critical raw materials used in batteries (i.e., cobalt, natural graphite, lithium, nickel, and their chemical compounds). The due diligence obligations adopt the risk-based due diligence found in the "OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas" and require that supply chain due diligence policies address the most prevalent social and environmental risk categories (e.g., human rights and environment).
Further amendments were made in March 2022 to include a battery passport — a digital record system that will list information about every industrial or electric vehicle battery on the EU market with a capacity of over 2 kWh. Data input will be required from cell producers, module producers, battery producers, automotive OEMs, and battery service, refurbishing, and repurposing companies.
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