Preparing for the new EU Batteries Regulation
In December 2020, the European Commission announced a proposal to modernize the European battery legislation with a focus on enhancing the environmental performance of new batteries. Patrick de Metz, Saft’s Environmental and Governmental Affairs Director, answered some questions about how Saft is helping to shape the legislation and the steps we are taking to support our customers in reducing their carbon footprint.
What is the goal of the new Batteries Regulation?
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.
What are the essential new requirements placed on 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.
How is Saft supporting this new legislation?
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.
How will the regulation support the circular economy?
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.