The Proposal for a revised Regulation on Batteries is now on the table with policymakers. Its shape and specific measures are a novelty in the legal EU landscape and confirmation of the new approach to setting product policies that are next in the list of deliverables of the European Green Deal. The measures are some important precedents of the new approach regarding the environmental performance such as carbon footprint, durability criteria, recycled content, addressing hazardous substances.
Among some of the new objectives proposed we can read some iconic novel provisions :
Ensuring sustainable sourcing and mandatory due diligence across the supply-chain for the main critical raw materials: cobalt, lithium, graphite and nickel, in line with the OECD Guidance on Due Diligence
Boosting the production of longer lasting and reusable batteries, with durability characteristics and labelling and state of health measurement to guide possible reuse
Target for collection of industrial batteries is implicitly set at 100%
incentivizing recycled content to reduce the extraction of primary raw materials
Aiming to phase out non-rechargeable batteries from the market which again is in line with a broad CEAP objective of reducing the amount of unnecessary single-use appliances
Improving the separate collection of batteries for recycling and reuse by suggesting a deposit return system
Replacing some of the most toxic technologies with clean alternatives. This process task will now be overviewed by ECHA and not anymore externalised by DG ENV, which might be a more efficient procedure.
Setting on carbon footprint performance classes from 2024 and minimum thresholds from 2027
Setting up an electronic information exchange system for batteries and a passport scheme (for industrial and electric vehicle batteries only)
In addition, the proposal contains provisions on mandatory green public procurement, on facilitating the enforcement of product rules, namely rules on conformity assessment, notification of conformity assessment bodies, market surveillance and economic instruments.
Important to note that the basis for the legal requirements will be moved to Regulatory Acts forcing a harmonized implementation of the various provisions of the new Regulation. On one hand this means streacter and more enforceable implementation, however it also means that MS will not be allowed to go beyond the ambition set by the regulation. That is why it is important that in the co-decisions process the institutions will set the bar high.