At the World Economic Forum in Geneva, the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) on Thursday launched 10 key principles that have been signed by 42 global organizations – along with the ‘Battery Passport’ concept, a type of ‘quality seal’ on a global digital platform for sharing value chain data of batteries.
The first of its kind, the Battery Passport is expected to address areas including compliance with human rights and environmental footprints, the World Economic Forum said in a press release.
The principles are intended as the first step in a responsible, sustainable battery value chain as set out in the Global Battery Alliance’s “A Vision for a Sustainable Battery Value Chain in 2030.” Implementing commitments will be based on existing standards such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Due Diligence Guidance and economically viable considerations for a circular and low carbon economy.
At the Annual Meeting 2020, running Jan 20-24, 42 organizations, including businesses from mining, chemicals, battery, automotive and energy industries, representing annual revenue of close to a trillion dollars, along with international organizations and global NGOs, have agreed on the 10 guiding principles.
They include maximizing the productivity of batteries, enabling a productive and safe second life use, circular recovery of battery materials, ensuring transparency of greenhouse gas emissions and their progressive reduction, prioritizing energy efficiency measures and increasing the use of renewable energy, fostering battery-enabled renewable energy integration, high quality job creation and skills development, eliminating child and forced labour, protecting public health and the environment and supporting responsible trade and anti-corruption practices, local value creation and economic diversification.
“We all need batteries to power the clean revolution. However, we must ensure violations of human rights do not occur anywhere in the value chain, that local communities benefit and that battery production is sustainable. These guiding principles are an important first step to build a value chain that can deliver on this promise while supporting societies and economies at the same time,” said Dominic Waughray, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.
Organizations supporting the realization of a battery value chain that meets these principles include AB Volvo, African Development Bank, Amara Raja Batteries, Analog Devices, Audi, BASF, and BMW, the World Bank and UNICEF.
“As we convene for the 50th anniversary Davos meeting, the launch of the 10 key principles will help bring the Alliance one step closer to unlocking the potential of batteries to power sustainable development. We are aiming to ensure that the vast benefits to the global economy never come at the cost of the most vulnerable communities. A key focus for ERG is working with all Alliance members to eradicate child labour within the battery value chain,” Benedikt Sobotka, co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance and CEO of ERG, said.
This alignment among key players in the battery market establishes the basis for a transparent accountability system. It will guide the development of a global digital battery information disclosure system referred to as the “Battery Passport”, which is designed to enable a transparent value chain, for example, with respect to human rights and the environmental footprint.