World Economic Forum

Global Battery Alliance

The Alliance brings together leading businesses along the entire battery value chain with governments, international organizations, NGOs and academics to actively shape a battery value chain that powers sustainable development.

Ten guiding principles covering issues from the circular recovery of battery materials, ensuring transparency of greenhouse gas emissions and their progressive reduction, to eliminating child and forced labour were agreed by 42 member organizations in January 2020.

Building upon these principles, as well as findings in the insight report “A Vision for a Sustainable Battery Value Chain in 2030”, all Alliance’s activities aim to:

  • Establish a circular battery value chain as a major driver to achieve the Paris Agreement
  • Establish a low-carbon economy in the value chain, create new jobs and additional economic value
  • Safeguard human rights and economic development consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

To achieve these goals, the Alliance is currently focusing on the following flagship deliverables:

Battery Passport

The Battery Passport is a global solution for securely sharing information and data to prove responsibility and sustainability to consumers with a "quality seal", while enabling resource efficiency across the battery life cycle.

To this end the Battery Passport will offer a digital representation of a battery conveying information about all applicable environmental, social, governance and lifecycle requirements based on a comprehensive definition of a "sustainable" battery. It will not only enable transparency, standard setting and progress tracking of the entire industry over time.

By the end of 2020 a demonstration product will be established; in 2021 a minimum viable product shall be developed; by the end of 2022 the Battery Passport shall be fully operational.

Three targeted Impact Programmes

1. Cobalt Action Partnership

The Cobalt Action Partnership is an initiative that is currently being incubated by the Global Battery Alliance to immediately and urgently eliminate child and forced labour from the cobalt value chain (in line with principle number 8 of the GBA principles), contribute to the sustainable development of communities, and respect the human rights of those affected by the cobalt supply chain.

Specifically, the Cobalt Action Partnership seeks to establish a common standard for artisanal small-scale cobalt; foster the identification of best practices and drive investment toward on-the-ground projects; establish a common monitoring and evaluation framework for country projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; coordinate stakeholder engagement on responsible cobalt production practices and sourcing expectations.

Over time, the GBA also seeks to support the sustainable supply of other key battery materials.

2. Low-Carbon Economy Programme

The low-carbon programme hosts initiatives that focus on the accelerated deployment of batteries to realize emissions savings potential of this technology.

Energy Access initiative: The GBA Energy Access initiative seeks to identify how to esponsibly and sustainably realize the energy access potential that a circular battery value chain offers to ~575m people in Sub-Saharan Africa. This includes an assessment of the end of life requirements and the potential to harness second life batteries to meet electricity needs. A report will establish a roadmap of actions, consulted with governments, businesses and civil society organizations. A coalition shall be established to implement key recommendations coming out of this initiative.

Accelerating battery adoption: In a series of roundtables hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales in collaboration with the Sustainable Markets Initiative, the GBA is assessing the potential game-changing solutions to overcome key bottlenecks to an accelerated deployment of batteries in electric vehicles and grid-scale storage. Tangible public-private interventions, such as infrastructure investments, are to spring from this process. This work is currently in the scoping phase.

3. Circular Economy Programme

This programme looks to incubate initiatives to address barriers to a circular economy for batteries.

Initial emphasis is placed on two areas: first, harmonizing transboundary regulation to lower barriers to recycling due to the costly trade in spent batteries. Second, a blueprint for responsible end of life management of lead-acid batteries in low and middle-income countries is being developed.

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