A new alliance aims to ensure that the booming demand for batteries supports sustainable development.
The battery market is set for exponential growth. By 2050, batteries will power an electric vehicle market worth $2 trillion. It is estimated that a twelvefold increase in battery capacity is needed to meet the demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage by 2025 alone. The expansion of battery storage into the world’s energy and transport systems could be a game-changer in the fight against climate change.
Significant innovations are needed in the supply chain to safeguard workers, eradicate child labour, and pollution as well as unlock innovation for green energy storage. In these efforts to achieve an inclusive and innovative battery value chain that meets global needs the World Economic Forum has convened Global Battery Alliance.
"It is almost certain that your smartphone or electric vehicle contains cobalt that comes from child workers in artisanal mines."
Benedikt Sobotka, Chief Executive Officer, Eurasian Resources Group
The costs to ensure future global battery capacity needs are met is enormous – financially, socially, environmentally and economically.
The extraction of the raw materials needed for batteries has been linked to dangerous working conditions, poverty and other social and environmental concerns. Battery production is also linked to a high carbon footprint and the lifecycle impacts depend on the carbon balance of the energy mix in batteries.
Standards and regulation are not in place to make repurposing and recycling batteries at the end of their life cost effective. This undermines the contribution batteries make to mitigating climate change.
Finally, batteries could be better harnessed to support one billion people globally who remain in need of access to modern electricity and the use of batteries in various applications. Innovative partnerships are required to unlock this positive potential.
Action is required today to develop a sustainable backbone of the energy and transport systems of tomorrow.
The World Economic Forum first convened the Global Battery Alliance, at the Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York in September 2017.
The Alliance connects leading businesses from the entire battery value chain, with governments, international organizations and NGOs to develop an action plan to achieve the battery value chain needed to power sustainable development. Under the Alliance framework businesses from diverse sectors including technology, mining, electronics, automotive and energy engage directly with international organizations and NGOs including UNICEF, OECD and the World Bank.
The Global Battery Alliance is guided by multiple Forum System Initiatives including Shaping the Future of Energy:
This System Initiative aims to accelerate development of the policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation required to achieve a sustainable, affordable, secure and inclusive energy future, which is essential for economic and social development.
The System Initiative on the Future of Mobility provides a platform for business leaders to partner with policy-makers to overcome the persistent challenges in transportation, such as pollution, congestion and security. The System Initiative aims for a future in which mobility helps all people access healthcare, education, jobs, markets and goods, social interaction and culture.
The World Economic Forum is inviting members and partners to join the Global Battery Alliance. This global collaboration platform will catalyse and accelerate action towards a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and innovative battery value chain to power the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Join us and help us shape an innovative battery value chain.
Already a member or partner of the World Economic Forum? Join this initiative now.