A post-pandemic plan for green growth needs battery industry’s backing

A post-pandemic plan for green growth needs battery industry’s backing

Officials and legislators in Europe are united in agreeing to accelerate efforts to decarbonise and boost green growth. They need to help rather than hinder the utilisation of established and reliable supply chains.

By: Dr. Steve Binks, Regulatory Affairs Director, International Lead Association

The updated Industrial Strategy sets out a roadmap to achieve strategic autonomy while accelerating green growth.

At a recent European Forum for Manufacturing debate on the strategy, the European Commission’s Maive Rute described how thinking has changed following the pandemic. Officials are focused on identifying and protecting vulnerable supply chains and critical raw materials. They have identified 137 strategically important products that could be vulnerable.

The transition to a decarbonised economy will only work if existing key industries continue to deliver the services and products that keep Europe in business. The lead battery value chain is a good example of an existing integrated industry that supplies a vital product for clean mobility, clean energy and other core services – including back-up for hospital power supplies.

An issue that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic was security of supply. The lead battery value chain is strategically autonomous, and it is already delivering on the principles of circularity with a well-established end-to-end recycling process. 100% of collected batteries are recycled and new batteries contain more than 80% recycled materials.

The lead battery industry also ticks other boxes identified by the Commission:

  • Innovation: the global Consortium for Battery Innovation, which has a base in Europe, is driving forward new technology and improved performance across the range of batteries in Europe.
  • Raw material security: lead is professionally and safely recycled in Europe and can be recycled infinitely. There is no reliance on third parties for the core materials in our batteries.
  • Skills development: the value chain supports hundreds of of jobs directly and indirectly in industries from car manufacturing, renewables, energy storage and recycling.

Critically, the Commission’s updated strategy highlights how important a coherent regulatory framework is to achieve its aims. Officials and legislators must work with industry to achieve these goals, avoid contradictory regulatory barriers, and move rapidly to achieving carbon-neutral ambitions.

Read more for why lead is the metal fuelling the EU’s homegrown battery powerhouse.

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