Foreign media reported that Europe has formulated a new plan called "Battery Passport" to make the production of European batteries more sustainable in the future. The plan can determine battery chemical composition and quality standards, strengthen the recycling of used batteries, and even eliminate child labor.
Benedikt Sobotka, Co-Chairman of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) and CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, said: “To ensure that raw materials are sourced in a responsible and sustainable manner, batteries are produced and recycled to satisfy manufacturers, suppliers, customers and the entire The necessity of society’s growing expectations, battery passports came into being."
At present, the global automotive electrification process is accelerating, and the demand for power batteries is increasing, which in turn drives the surge in the purchase of raw materials such as cobalt, lithium and nickel. However, as many as 1 million children are currently affected by mining activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which supplies two-thirds of the world’s cobalt. The employment of child labor in mining has often attracted the attention of international human rights organizations in the past, which is not conducive to the sustainable development of the new energy automobile industry.
Sobotka said: "Passport is able to determine that the source of the final product is responsible, and is never related to child labor." Under this circumstance, all EU countries support the responsible and sustainable development of the entire procurement process of European lithium battery production materials.
In 2019, the European Commission has approved the provision of 3.2 billion euros (approximately RMB 24.9 billion) in assistance to seven EU member states to support European battery technology research and innovation projects. The seven countries are Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Finland and Sweden. The research project aims to support the development of innovative and sustainable liquid electrolytes and solid-state batteries. The main focus areas include the extraction and processing of lithium battery raw materials, The creation of advanced chemical materials, battery and module design, system integration, and battery recycling.
At present, local European battery companies represented by Northvolt, SAFT, Morrow Batteries, AMTE Power, etc. are increasing capital investment to expand battery production capacity in Europe. At present, Umicore, BASF and Johnson Matthey are all accelerating the construction of their European cathode material projects to build a local lithium battery raw material supply system for the aforementioned battery companies. However, the raw materials of the above-mentioned cathode material companies mainly come from the Congo region, so they are also responsible for their raw material procurement.
Dr. Andreas Wendt of the BMW Management Committee said: “Sustainability is an important aspect of our corporate strategy and plays a key role in expanding electric vehicles. We are fully aware of our responsibility: cobalt and other commodities must be ethically responsible. This shows that although the continued expansion of power battery production capacity in Europe in the future will generate strong demand for upstream raw materials, cathode material companies must ensure that their upstream cobalt raw materials procurement is sustainable and transparent if they want to enter the European supply chain. Provide higher requirements for cathode material companies.