Batteries will be a major driver in reducing the carbon footprint of the transport and power sectors through the use of electric vehicles and renewable energy. To help companies and governments, the Global Battery Alliance designed 10 guiding principles for the creation of a sustainable battery chain by 2030.
These 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, 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, Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW), Cadenza Innovation, China EV100, Clarios, ClimateWorks Foundation, Enel, Envision Group, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), Everledger, Fairphone, Fundacion Chile, Good Shepherd International Foundation, Greentech Capital Advisors, Groupe Renault, Honda, IMPACT, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), International Justice Mission (IJM), Johnson Matthey, International Lead Association (ILA), Leaseplan, Office of the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), OPTEL Group, Pact, Pure Earth, Responsible Battery Coalition, SGS, SK Innovation, Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile SA (SQM), The Faraday Institution, The World Bank Group, Trafigura, Transport & Environment (T&E), Umicore, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Volkswagen Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). To realize the full ambition of these principles, the Global Battery Alliance is actively seeking the endorsement of additional organizations to ensure full participation throughout the battery value chain.
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.
What the signatories say
“Je suis ravi d’annoncer que le Gouvernement de la République Démocratique du Congo soutient la Global Battery Alliance et ses dix principes directeurs. J’invite les membres de mon gouvernement à travailler avec l’Alliance afin d’établir une chaîne de valeur durable du cobalt. C’est indispensable pour permettre la transition énergétique.” Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
“Amara Raja is fully committed to support the transition to a carbon neutral energy footprint across the globe and recognizes that advanced battery technologies have a critical role to play to enable and accelerate this transition. Amara Raja is delighted to be part of the Global Battery Alliance efforts to drive the transition and endorses the ‘Principles and Commitments to Realize the 2030 Vision’. The principles and commitments as articulated by the GBA provide a framework for implementation of a scalable and sustainable approach for faster adoption of smart energy solutions for a greener future.” Vijayanand Kumar Samudrala, Chief Executive Officer, Amara Raja Batteries
“Analog Devices strongly believes that technology is one of the key enablers for a sustainable, circular and ultimately regenerative economy. Batteries will play a key part in enabling this shift as the world accelerates towards renewable energy sources. It is vital that the value chain forming around batteries is both sustainable and just across the entire lifecycle of the battery, from extraction and formation to second life and recycling. At Analog Devices, we support the work of the Global Battery Alliance and fully endorse the 10 principles for a sustainable value chain.” Vincent Roche, Chief Executive Officer, Analog Devices
“For Audi, batteries are key on our way to carbon neutral mobility. To ensure that this technology is thoroughly sustainable, we welcome and support the GBA initiative and our common principles. We believe in the power of joint collaboration across all stakeholders in the entire value chain of batteries and therefore encourage others to join the GBA as well. Audi is striving for a reliable “sustainability performance seal”, carried out by robust stakeholder engagement, which stands as a global reference for clean and ethically produced batteries.” Hildegard Wortmann, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing, Audi
“These guiding principles are a milestone for the Global Battery Alliance to promote a sustainable and responsible battery value chain. As a founding member of the alliance, BASF welcomes a joint vision and concrete actions, such as the planned battery passport.” Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF and Co-Chair of the Global Battery Alliance
“An efficient, transparent, sustainable global value chain is vital to ensuring that the battery industry continues to meet unprecedented demand in an innovative and socially responsible manner. The guidelines put forth by the Global Battery Alliance provide a thoughtful and actionable approach for ensuring that. By bolstering the role that energy storage plays in combatting climate change while lifting underserved populations up out of energy poverty, the GBA’s efforts can benefit our whole society.” Christina Lampe-Onnerud, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Cadenza Innovation
“The 10 principles of the Global Battery Alliance have far-reaching significance for the development of the global battery industry, and will play a guiding role in the orderly and sustainable development of the battery value chain. As a think tank and exchange platform for China’s electric vehicle industry, China EV100 has been committed to conducting research and cross-industry exchanges on the entire value chain and recycling of the battery industry for the past six years. We are willing to work with GBA to help the energy transition and decarbonization of the transportation industry along with the sustainable development of the electric vehicle and battery value chain.” Liu Xiaoshi, Executive Deputy Secretary-General, China EV100
“When combined with zero-carbon electricity from sources like wind and solar, batteries can cleanly power our vehicles, homes and businesses, reducing climate pollution and advancing sustainable development. As an organization dedicated to ending the climate crisis, the ClimateWorks Foundation supports the work of the GBA and applauds its efforts to improve battery supply chain sustainability in the mining and extraction industries and ensure greater transparency and traceability.” Charlotte Pera, President and Chief Executive Officer, ClimateWorks Foundation
“We support these principles as they are fully aligned with our strategy and with commitments we have already made to the environment, society, human and labour rights. The collaboration of the whole value chain to sustainably supply battery storage systems is key to accelerate the energy transition. As the world’s leading private operator of renewables and networks, we have implemented tangible actions to foster a circular and sustainable value chain that is respectful of human rights.” Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer, ENEL
“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, Chief Executive Officer of Eurasian Resources Group and Co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance
“At Everledger, we believe technology is one of the greatest platforms for change towards a low carbon economy. We not only support the principles of the GBA, but also enable the global battery value chain to achieve ever increasing levels of transparency for sustainability efforts.” Leanne Kemp, Chief Executive Officer, Everledger
“It is time we as an industry make a joint effort in cleaning up our battery supply chains. We welcome the GBA principles as an important step towards this.” Monique Lempers, Director Impact Innovation, Fairphone
“As non-corporate members of the Global Battery Alliance, we endorse the GBA principles for the development of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable battery value chain. Aligning our diverse global collaboration platform around the principles – placing the Sustainable Development Goals and the critical connectivity of human rights and development at the heart of the value chain – is an important step forward for the GBA. We are committed to monitoring and implementing joint programmes to deliver concrete progress against the principles, and developing clear and transparent measuring tools, as we continue to support this critical effort.” Joint statement from Cristina Duranti, Director, Good Shepherd International Foundation; Joanne Lebert, Executive Director, IMPACT; Gary A. Haugen, Chief Executive Officer, International Justice Mission; Karen Hayes, Vice-President, Mines to Markets, Pact; Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Assistant Secretary-General and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
“We fully endorse the Global Battery Alliance’s bid to develop a responsible and sustainable battery value chain. The world is going to need many more batteries using different chemistries and technologies as demand for energy storage continues to grow and we are encouraged that the 10 guiding principles make reference to lead-based batteries that will continue to play a significant role in achieving the UN sustainability goal to provide access to clean and affordable energy for all. The GBA’s aim to foster the creation of a sustainable battery value chain by 2030 is fully aligned with lead battery industry’s material stewardship initiative and our own guiding principles.” Andy Bush, Managing Director, International Lead Association
“Johnson Matthey is very pleased to support the 10 principles of the GBA, which underpin our company’s vision to build a cleaner, healthier world. This a key milestone for the battery community as we align to deliver common objectives that will power a sustainable energy transition in a way that safeguards and benefits the whole supply chain and the planet. JM is fully committed to working together with the GBA on these critically important efforts.” Robert MacLeod, Chief Executive Officer, Johnson Matthey
“Electric vehicles and the batteries that power them are central to the fight against climate change. LeasePlan therefore fully supports the work of the Global Battery Alliance to ensure we have safe, clean and ethically produced batteries. Collectively, we are determined to build a 100% sustainable battery value chain and ensure the industry maintains its social licence to operate.” Tex Gunning, Chief Executive Officer, LeasePlan
“We welcome the adoption of GBA principles that explicitly refer to the need for human rights standards in the battery supply chain. To effectively address child labour and other human rights issues, formalization of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sites is key. The GBA is ideally positioned to pool knowledge and resources to develop ASM formalization standards that can be implemented in the DRC.” Michael Posner, Director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, Director of the Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights
“At OPTEL, we are proud to use our traceability expertise to contribute to the achievement of the GBA principles towards a sustainable battery value chain. This project fits perfectly with our mission of using innovative technologies to create a more sustainable world and we recognize all the organizations jointly involved in this effort.” Louis Roy, President, OPTEL GROUP
“The Global Battery Alliance is moving the needle with respect to batteries. Health problems from battery recycling (especially lead-acid batteries) are ridiculously enormous. We need to avoid a similar problem with lithium batteries, as their boom continues. GBA is the group that can make this happen.” Richard Fuller, President, Pure Earth
“Batteries are becoming a significantly more important part of our energy infrastructure, economy and national security. A key part of sustaining our growing, battery-reliant energy infrastructure is to conserve human and natural resources. We at the Responsible Battery Coalition are proud to join with our fellow members of the Global Battery Alliance in supporting these principles and working together in creating a sustainable, humane and circular battery value chain.” Steve Christensen, Executive Director, Responsible Battery Coalition
“SK Innovation fully supports the 10 guiding principles and the GBA’s ambition to build sustainable global battery value chain by 2030. This vision and timeframe dovetails with SK Innovation’s ‘Green Balance 2030’ initiative, which will accelerate our transition to a low carbon economy. Moreover, we believe accurate measurement is the very first step in building momentum and credibility for a sustainable value chain. SK group-wide socio-environmental impact assessments demonstrate that our growing battery business is leading the way with our decarbonization efforts.” Jun Kim, President and Chief Executive Officer, SK Innovation
“In the last 25 years SQM has been operating and optimizing its sustainable production process for lithium. SQM takes its responsibility seriously in protecting the environment and ensuring the well-being of its neighbouring communities. As a key element to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, today we are taking another step, making a public and transparent commitment to the principles of the Global Battery Alliance of the World Economic Forum to ensure sustainable supply of lithium. SQM is proud to endorse the GBA principles of the World Economic Forum. As a leading lithium producer, we believe this is major step towards realizing a sustainable battery supply chain.” Ricardo Ramos, Chief Executive Officer, SQM
“We must diligently work together and support governments like that of the DRC in their efforts to address shortcomings in the Lithium-ion value chain. These challenges cannot be wished away. The adoption of the Global Battery Alliance principles provides a welcome foundation in pursuit of the responsible sourcing of materials such as cobalt, which are essential for the transition to low carbon economies.” Jeremy Weir, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Trafigura
“Rechargeable Batteries are the best technology to achieve zero emissions mobility and underpin climate neutral economy of the future. The Global Battery Alliance should accelerate the transition to sustainably sourced and produced batteries by enabling full traceability along the supply chain and implementing the Battery Passport. GBA’s members include the world’s largest mining and smelting companies so it is in their power to guarantee responsible, safe and inclusive extraction of battery metals in developing countries.” Julia Poliscanova, Director, Transport & Environment’s Clean Vehicles and E-Mobility Director
“I am very pleased that after over two years of intense work among many key stakeholders of the battery value chain we have reached consensus on 10 challenging principles. In particular, the principles call for ‘immediately and urgently eliminating child and forced labour’ from the batteries. Indeed, we cannot accept that the pursuit of climate neutrality should in any way involve child labour. Therefore (along with the immediate elimination of child labour) I am prepared to pledge significant funds to support the work of a consortium of NGOs in order to ensure that children are out of the mines and I invite other members of the Global Battery Alliance to join me for the creation of this fund.” Marc Grynberg, Chief Executive Officer, Umicore
“At Volkswagen, our sustainability and social responsibility requirements go well beyond production and cover the entire value chain. We do not tolerate any infringements of environmental and social standards – this applies to the entire supply chain. That’s why we support the GBA and are committed to the 10 principles that were agreed today as a building block to safeguard human rights and economic development consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” Ralf Pfitzner, Head of Sustainability, Volkswagen Group
Sustainable batteries are a must for our society to thrive within planet boundaries. WBCSD welcomes the 10 principles for a sustainable value chain that protects human rights and accelerate the transition to carbon neutrality, and will continue to support the Global Battery Alliance members in their action towards the vision for a sustainable battery value chain by 2030”, Maria Mendiluce, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
Sustainable transport key to green energy shift
With global transport at a crossroads, government leaders, industry experts, and civil society groups are meeting in Beijing, China, for a UN conference to chart the way forward to a more sustainable future for the sector, and greater climate action overall.
The three-day UN Sustainable Transport Conference, which opened on Thursday, will examine how transportation can contribute to climate response, economic growth and sustainable development.
It is taking place just weeks before the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
“The next nine years must see a global shift towards renewable energy. Sustainable transport is central to that transformation,” he said.
The move to sustainable transport could deliver savings of $70 trillion by 2050, according to the World Bank.
Better access to roads could help Africa to become self-sufficient in food, and create a regional food market worth $1 trillion by the end of the decade.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how transport is “far more than a means of getting people and goods from A to B”, the UN chief said.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but the door for action is closing, he warned.
“Transport, which accounts for more than one quarter of global greenhouse gases, is key to getting on track. We must decarbonize all means of transport, in order to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 globally.”
A role for everyone
Decarbonizing transportation requires countries to address emissions from shipping and aviation because current commitments are not aligned with the Paris Agreement.
Priorities here include phasing out the production of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040, while zero emission vessels “must be the default choice” for the shipping sector.
“All stakeholders have a role to play, from individuals changing their travel habits, to businesses transforming their carbon footprint,” the Secretary-General said.
He urged governments to incentivize clean transport, for example through regulatory standards and taxation, and to impose stricter regulation of infrastructure and procurement.
Safer transport for all
The issues of safety and access must also be addressed, the Secretary-General continued.
“This means helping more than one billion people to access paved roads, with designated space for pedestrians and bicycles, and providing convenient public transit options,” he said.
“It means providing safe conditions for all on public transport by ending harassment and violence against women and girls, and reducing deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.”
Making transport resilient
Post-pandemic recovery must also lead to resilient transport systems, with investments going towards sustainable transport, and generating decent jobs and opportunities for isolated communities.
“Public transport should be the foundation for urban mobility,” he said. “Per dollar invested, it creates three times more jobs than building new highways.”
With much existing transport infrastructure, such as ports, vulnerable to extreme climate events, better risk analysis and planning are needed, along with increased financing for climate adaptation, particularly in developing countries.
Mr. Guterres stressed the need for effective partnerships, including with the private sector, so that countries can work together more coherently.
“The transformative potential of sustainable transport can only be unleashed if improvements translate into poverty eradication, decent jobs better health and education, and increased opportunities for women and girls. Countries have much to learn from each other,” he said.
Decisive action by governments is critical to unlock growth for low-carbon hydrogen
Governments need to move faster and more decisively on a wide range of policy measures to enable low-carbon hydrogen to fulfil its potential to help the world reach net zero emissions while supporting energy security, the International Energy Agency says in a new report released today.
Currently, global production of low-carbon hydrogen is minimal, its cost is not yet competitive, and its use in promising sectors such as industry and transport remains limited – but there are encouraging signs that it is on the cusp of significant cost declines and widespread global growth, according the IEA’s Global Hydrogen Review 2021.
When the IEA released its special report on The Future of Hydrogen for the G20 in 2019, only France, Japan and Korea had strategies for the use of hydrogen. Today, 17 governments have released hydrogen strategies, more than 20 others have publicly announced they are working to develop strategies, and numerous companies are seeking to tap into hydrogen business opportunities. Pilot projects are underway to produce steel and chemicals with low-carbon hydrogen, with other industrial uses under development. The cost of fuel cells that run on hydrogen continue to fall, and sales of fuel-cell vehicles are growing.
“It is important to support the development of low-carbon hydrogen if governments are going to meet their climate and energy ambitions,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director, who is launching the report today at the Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting hosted by Japan. “We have experienced false starts before with hydrogen, so we can’t take success for granted. But this time, we are seeing exciting progress in making hydrogen cleaner, more affordable and more available for use across different sectors of the economy. Governments need to take rapid actions to lower the barriers that are holding low-carbon hydrogen back from faster growth, which will be important if the world is to have a chance of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.”
Hydrogen is light, storable and energy-dense, and its use as a fuel produces no direct emissions of pollutants or greenhouse gases. The main obstacle to the extensive use of low-carbon hydrogen is the cost of producing it. This requires either large amounts of electricity to produce it from water, or the use of carbon capture technologies if the hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels. Almost all hydrogen produced today comes from fossil fuels without carbon capture, resulting in close to 900 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the combined CO2 emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia.
Investments and focused policies are needed to close the price gap between low-carbon hydrogen and emissions-intensive hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Depending on the prices of natural gas and renewable electricity, producing hydrogen from renewables can cost between 2 and 7 times as much as producing it from natural gas without carbon capture. But with technological advances and economies of scale, the cost of making hydrogen with solar PV electricity can become competitive with hydrogen made with natural gas, as set out in the IEA’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050.
Global capacity of electrolysers, which produce hydrogen from water using electricity, doubled over the last five years, with about 350 projects currently under development and another 40 projects in early stages of development. Should all these projects be realised, global hydrogen supply from electrolysers – which creates zero emissions provided the electricity used is clean – would reach 8 million tonnes by 2030. This is a huge increase from today’s level of less than 50 000 tonnes – but remains well below the 80 million tonnes required in 2030 in the IEA pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.
Practically all hydrogen use in 2020 was for refining and industrial applications. Hydrogen can be used in many more applications than those common today, the report highlights. Hydrogen has important potential uses in sectors where emissions are particularly challenging to reduce, such as chemicals, steel, long-haul trucking, shipping and aviation.
The broader issue is that policy action so far focuses on the production of low-carbon hydrogen while the necessary corresponding steps that are required to build demand in new applications is limited. Enabling greater use of hydrogen in industry and transport will require much stronger policy measures to foster the construction of the necessary storage, transmission and charging facilities.
Countries with hydrogen strategies have committed at least USD 37 billion to the development and deployment of hydrogen technologies, and the private sector has announced additional investment of USD 300 billion. But putting the hydrogen sector on path consistent with global net zero emissions by 2050 requires USD 1 200 billion of investment between now and 2030, the IEA estimates.
The Global Hydrogen Review lays out a series of recommendations for near term-action beyond just mobilising investment in research, production and infrastructure. It highlights that governments could stimulate demand and reduce price differences through carbon pricing, mandates, quotas and hydrogen requirements in public procurement. In addition, international cooperation is needed to establish standards and regulations, and to create global hydrogen markets that could spur demand in countries with limited potential to produce low-carbon hydrogen and create export opportunities for countries with large renewable energy supplies or large CO2 storage potential.
IRENA and SolarPower Europe Strengthen Coordinated Actions in the Solar Industry
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and SolarPower Europe are strengthening their cooperation by signing a partnership agreement. As a member of the IRENA Coalition for Action since 2014, SolarPower Europe has been actively involved in various IRENA activities promoting the wider and faster uptake of renewable energy, including solar energy.
By leveraging on each other’s strengths, IRENA and SolarPower Europe aim to jointly advance progress towards a cleaner energy future. Signed by IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera and SolarPower Europe’s CEO Walburga Hemetsberger, the agreement will allow both parties to coordinate and support the implementation of measures to scale up solar energy deployment globally and ensure a just and inclusive energy transition.
“Solar energy is now the cheapest source of electricity generation in many parts of the world and continues to contribute to the largest gains in renewable energy capacity globally. We need to leverage this momentum by maximising the sector’s potential through collective actions. Cooperation is key to expedite progress in realising IRENA’s 1.5°C scenario. By entering this agreement with SolarPower Europe, we hope to tap into the strengths and visions of multiple solar energy players, in particular from the private sector,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity reached almost 714 GW in 2020 globally, amounting to an increase of 20% from the previous year, and proving its competitiveness and resilience. Solar PV jobs reached 3.8 million in 2019 worldwide, representing almost a third of all renewable energy jobs. In the urban context, rooftop solar PV is a practical solution to increase access to affordable and reliable electricity for residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings, while also decarbonising the power systems. In many countries, solar PV continues to play a key role to achieve access to 100% electricity in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and broader climate objectives.
“As the cheapest and most easily deployed clean energy technology today, solar can significantly contribute to SDG 7, which aims to ensure energy for all by 2030. Globally, solar energy is continuing to break installation records, and is on track to reach Terawatt scale by 2022,” Walburga Hemetsberger, Chief Executive Officer of SolarPower Europe said. “With 70 per cent of current global power still generated from non-renewable polluting energy, we need much more ambition from policymakers to accelerate the clean energy transition. We look forward to working with IRENA to scale up global solar energy installation, which will help us meet the Paris Agreement targets.”
With this agreement, IRENA and SolarPower Europe will be able to exchange knowledge, data and information in an effort to support and strengthen domestic supply chains and investments in solar energy development. The two organisations will also collaborate to track and analyse latest trends in the private sector, including costs and innovations, as well as the socio-economic benefits of solar energy, to inform the policy decision-making process.
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