42 Global Organizations Agree on Guiding Principles for Batteries to Power Sustainable Energy Transition
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)
Qatari LNG shipments to Europe will drop
Qatar is sending less of its liquefied natural gas to Europe, where slumping prices have reduced its attractiveness as a destination for the super-chilled fuel, informs Bloomberg.
Less than 18% of Qatar’s LNG output has sailed to Europe so far this year, down from 25% in 2022, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. It marks a change from last year, when gas prices soared and sent European leaders on a worldwide search to replace supplies from Russia.
At the time, Energy Minister and CEO of QatarEnergy Saad Al-Kaabi said the company would keep supplying buyers in Europe, even though its long-term contracts had the option to divert as much as 15% of its cargoes to destinations with better prices.
European gas prices have since tumbled to less than €25 ($27) a megawatt hour, a fraction of last year’s record, and the self-imposed ban on diversions from Europe no longer stands, Kaabi said at a press conference in Doha.
“The data that made us make certain promises or direct certain quantities to specific markets no longer exist,” said Kaabi. “Prices have dropped and quantities are available. There is no problem in the market that existed previously.”
Congo oil auction: Perenco is interested, local communities want it out
The Anglo-French oil company Perenco has filed expressions of interest in two of the Coastal Basin blocks on offer in the giant oil auction the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) launched last July. Oil Minister Didier Budimbu visited the zone last Saturday to inaugurate new Perenco installations. A recent Greenpeace Africa field mission to the Coastal Basin, where the company has been present for nearly a quarter of a century, reveals strong opposition by local communities to any further fossil fuel activity, after years of pollution and abuse.
“No political elite in Kinshasa would accept to live in the oil-drenched ecosystems where Perenco drills, or accept the poverty and intimidation that constitute its legacy,” said Patient Muamba, Greenpeace Africa forest campaigner. “The DRC government must listen to its people and block Perenco from bidding to expand its toxic enterprise in the country.”
DRC’s only operating oil company, Perenco, is currently being sued in France by Friends of the Earth France and Sherpa in order to repair environmental damage. The firm is also being investigated by France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s office for “corruption of foreign public officials” in Africa. The multinational has a dark record in Gabon, Peru, and Guatemala, and is recently responsible for an oil spill in the UK.
The Congo oil auction has faced a barrage of criticism from Congolese and international scientists and NGOs as a potential cataclysm for human rights, the rule of law, biodiversity and the climate. Although deadlines for submitting expressions of interest have been extended twice, without explanation, it appears to have been shunned by Big Oil so far. Exploration contracts, most of which are to be signed during an election year in DRC, require the immediate payment of juicy signature bonuses.
Last month, just before the announcement of Perenco’s expressions of interest, Greenpeace Africa visited the three blocks of the Coastal Basin, a zone rich in mangroves located in the territories of Muanda and Lukula (Kongo-Central province), to talk with fishermen and fisherwomen, farmers, traditional leaders, young people, and local NGOs.
The pernicious impact of the oil industry is felt across the area and opposition among local communities is palpable. It echoes that of communities visited by Greenpeace Africa during three previous field trips since last July to six designated oil blocks in Equateur, Tshuapa, Haut Lomami, and Tanganyika provinces.
Only two days before our arrival, a huge fire broke out in Mangroves National Park, in a storage area for fuel imported from Angola. The Park is an internationally-recognized biodiversity hotspot, home to sea turtles, manatees and hippos. The oil explosion reduced approximately 500 m² of mangroves to ashes and caused significant water pollution. While Perenco wasn’t involved in the incident, it demonstrates the risks of expanding the oil industry in this ecosystem.
The company is infamous among locals. On 19 April Muanda was paralyzed by city-wide protests on various issues, some avenues barricaded with burning tires. Similar protests have been going on for years, often met by violent repression. Recently, residents have been demanding that a USD 10 million payment by Perenco be invested in the electrification of the city.
The villages lie within the Matamba-Makanzi II block, for which the Nigerian firm Century Energy Services and a certain “Kebo Energy” have filed expressions of interest. Perenco has filed expressions of interest for the Nganzi and Yema II blocks.
In Malela, a resident says no one there is aware of the existence of the oil auction: “We don’t understand why the government has to treat us as if we don’t exist and have no right to know what is planned for our lands.”
Already, restrictions imposed by the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) for protecting the area’s biodiversity, are making life difficult for fishermen and fisherwomen. Some fear oil exploration would impose further restrictions.
In Kimbanza and Malemba, residents complained that no one from the Oil Ministry had come to consult them. They knew their area might be at risk – about a decade ago the oil company Surestream had carried out unsuccessful seismic studies in the area. Now they reject any new oil development.
One resident, who worked for Perenco for decades, wonders: “How can the government approve this kind of project without telling us anything?”
Malemba residents are working on a management plan for their community forest concession, awarded in January, which they hope will block any land grabbing by a government-backed Perenco: “No one will come and take our land away from us, we already have legal rights!” says one community member.
Inhabitants of Matamba-Makanzi, which lies within the Yema II block, say they received a visit from individuals presenting themselves as Oil Ministry officials, but the latter told them absolutely nothing about any oil tender. They were only looking for guides to accompany them to the boundary between the Yema II and Matamba-Makanzi II blocks.
Neither villagers nor local civil society groups are aware of any environmental impact assessment done in the past 25 years
Activists in the area listed the complaints that Friends of the Earth France and Sherpa have brought before the French courts. Several scientific studies, investigations from Congolese and international civil society organisations and the Congolese Senate have revealed the installation of wells and flares near homes and fields, oil spills, waste incineration, the dumping of sludge and toxic waste in rivers, and land erosion.
One of the local activists says: “The exploitation of oil impoverishes us and makes us suffer. Young people are being used for useless work. I’d never work for Perenco – even if it were the only employer in Kongo Central!”.
Perenco did not respond to the issues raised by local communities when contacted by Greenpeace Africa.
Australia has raised its climate targets and now needs to accelerate its clean energy transition
Australia is taking positive steps to increase its climate and clean energy ambitions. The International Energy Agency has reviewed Australia’s progress and recommends that it continues to strengthen its policies and long-term plans to ensure it meets its targets.
Today, Australia is a major exporter of both fossil fuels and the critical minerals used in many clean energy technologies. A successful clean energy transition would support the country’s economic diversification and industrial growth while providing long-term resilience against global energy market shocks, according to the new IEA report.
Since the IEA’s last review in 2018, Australia has passed the Climate Change Act in 2022, which doubles the target for emissions reductions by 2030 and sets the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The Australian government also signed up to the Global Methane Pledge in 2022, joining 130 governments who are collectively targeting a reduction in methane emissions of at least 30% by 2030.
In recent months, the Australian government has presented a host of policy strategies to fast-track the country’s energy transition. The IEA review welcomes these strategies, including the Rewiring the Nation Plan, the National Energy Transformation Partnership, and National Energy Performance Strategy.
“Australia is an important player in global energy markets that is helping to meet today’s needs while advancing the transition to clean energy,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “I welcome Australia’s efforts to drive progress on low-emissions hydrogen and supplies of critical minerals – and its leadership on working with partners, including through the IEA, to strengthen the diversity and resilience of clean energy supply chains. Our new report sets out the steps Australia can take to accelerate its own clean energy transition securely and affordably.”
The report finds that Australia can make sufficient progress on emissions reductions by 2030 to align with the goal of net zero by 2050. However, stronger efforts are needed to improve energy efficiency and boost clean energy investment. A whole-of-government approach is needed to end the country’s high reliance on fossil fuels. The IEA review calls for an updated net zero emissions reduction plan for 2050 to guide implementation across all parts of government. A national energy and climate information system is also needed to track progress towards reaching these targets.
Greater energy efficiency efforts in transport and residential buildings can help bring forward Australia’s peak in emissions and mitigate rising energy bills. The IEA review estimates that a 60% productivity improvement would be needed for a net zero aligned trajectory. The new National Building Code and the Electric Vehicle Strategy are critical steps forward in this regard.
Australia’s renewables deployment has a positive outlook thanks to the success of rooftop solar, ambitious targets, and increased funding at federal and state levels. Three million Australian households, the equivalent of one in three, have solar PV installations, together accounting for 17 gigawatts of capacity.
Power sector decarbonisation efforts need to be stepped up considerably, as Australia aims to increase the share of low-carbon power generation by 2030 – with 82% to come from renewable energy, up from 27% today. This will require an accelerated implementation of renewable energy zones, faster permitting of grid related projects, and additional coal retirements.
The Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine created a new set of energy security challenges for all IEA members, including Australia. In 2022, Australia’s domestic gas and electricity markets experienced supply disruptions and rising prices. The Australian government has enacted laws and programmes aimed at boosting fuel security at home. Based on lessons learned from recent energy crises, investment in clean energy infrastructure, grids, energy system flexibility, and fuel availability should be key priorities for Australia’s orderly transition.
One of Australia’s security challenges is its exposure to frequent and extreme weather events. The energy sector – from production and generation to transport and distribution – will need to be more resilient to better cope with ever more disruptive storms, flooding, wildfires, and heat waves. Australia has yet to complete a comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts on the energy sector outside of electricity. A national-level energy sector plan that lays out future steps for climate resilience is needed.
Australia also has the potential to play a key role in providing critical minerals and new technologies for clean energy transitions globally. It produces cobalt, rare-earth elements, and lithium, of which it is the single largest producer. In 2022, Australia’s Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project produced and transported liquified hydrogen to Japan, the world’s first such shipment. Australia has a broad range of demonstration projects for low-emission hydrogen and carbon capture and storage development, which are also critical for the decarbonisation of industrial sectors where emissions are hardest to reduce.
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