Battery manufacturers wanting to sell their products in Europe will have to abide by strict CO2 emissions standards under new regulations agreed by EU lawmakers.
Battery producers must report the product’s entire carbon footprint, from mining to production to recycling, as early as July 2024 under the new regulatory framework for sustainable batteries. That data will then be used to set a maximum CO2 limit for batteries to apply as early as July 2027, ensuring that companies make them using clean energy instead of fossil fuels.
The impact of electric vehicle batteries on the environment and communities is set to significantly improve under the new law, green group Transport & Environment (T&E) said. The Batteries Regulation is a game changer for the sourcing, production, and recycling of batteries for electric cars, it added.
“Batteries are already far more sustainable than burning oil in our cars, but they can be much better,” said Alex Keynes, clean vehicles manager at T&E. ”New rules on carbon footprint, recycling and due diligence checks will mean batteries sold in Europe are the most sustainable globally, setting the standard for the rest of the world.”
Companies selling batteries in the EU will also have to comply with rules designed to prevent environmental, human rights and labour abuses in their supply chains, T&E said. The law will require battery-makers to identify, prevent and address a wide range of issues, spanning water pollution to community rights. But while the regulation will apply to key raw minerals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite, all raw materials, including fossil fuels, should be held to the same standards under a new due diligence law that the EU will finalise in the coming months, it said.
According to T&E, new EU recycling targets will extend their advantage even further: from 2027 battery-makers will need to recover 90% of nickel and cobalt used, rising to 95% in 2031. They would also need to recover 50% of lithium used in 2027, rising to 80% in 2031, it said.
The law will ensure products made by new European players cannot be undercut by imported batteries made with coal-heavy energy and with little regard for human and workers’ rights, the green group said.
“Global producers can invest in cleaner production processes and new recycling capacity in Europe knowing they will have a guaranteed market for green batteries here,” Keynes said.