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EESC Calls for Precise and Harmonised Conditions for a More Sustainable Life Cycle of Batteries

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion at its March plenary session drawn up by the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) which proposes more precise and operational governance arrangements and instruments for the implementation of the new battery regulation, with involvement of all stakeholders, as this could contribute to developing a Union framework covering the entire battery life cycle in the EU.

On 10 December 2020, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation on batteries and waste batteries, repealing Directive 2006/66/EC of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (the "Batteries Directive") and modifying the Regulation on market surveillance and compliance of products. The proposal is in line with the European Green Deal, which promotes decarbonisation of the EU economy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

The opinion adopted by the EESC supports the measures set out in the Regulation: with its new battery sustainability standards the Commission will also globally promote the green transition and establish a blueprint for further initiatives under its sustainable product policy. However, in its opinion the EESC calls for more precise and functional governance instruments and arrangements to be set out to implement the new regulation, with all stakeholders involved.

In the words of rapporteur Bruno Choix: "The proposed regulation aims to develop a Union framework covering the entire battery life cycle, including harmonised and more ambitious rules for batteries, components, waste batteries and recycled materials. Through this regulation the Commission intends to promote innovation as well as the development and implementation of the technological expertise of the EU."

Over the next decade in Europe, battery technology will be one of the main catalysts of the green energy transition. By enabling the electrification of transport, where appropriate, and the use of renewable energy as reliable energy sources, the use of batteries should contribute to achieving the EU's objectives under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Batteries Directive aims to minimise the negative impact of batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators on the environment through the following key measures: (i) prohibiting certain hazardous substances being placed on the EU market; (ii) implementing Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) schemes and other measures in line with the Circular Economy objectives; and (iii) establishing labelling requirements and implementing a similar approach with other sector-specific legislation.

ECOPNET (European Cooperation & Partnership Network) welcomes regulatory improvements in this area in collaboration with the leading international organisations. As a part of the European Green Deal objectives, reducing carbon footprint associated with the manufacture of batteries is an essential step. You may contact us for further assistance of our Green Deal and Circular Economy Working Groups.

Batteries placed on the EU market should become sustainable, high-performing and safe along their entire life cycle. This means batteries that are produced with the lowest possible environmental impact, using materials obtained in full compliance with human rights as well as social and ecological standards. Batteries have to be long-lasting and safe, and at the end of their life they should be repurposed, remanufactured or recycled, feeding valuable materials back into the economy.

Source: European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) News


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