The International Lead Association (ILA), Battery Council International (BCI), Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers (EUROBAT) and the Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) in the United States – associations representing the lead and lead battery industries – came to us with a problem that required a solution, a gap that needed filling.
That gap was the need for a method of ensuring that lead batteries meet the highest standards in raw materials and batteries sourcing, manufacturing, and recycling globally.
On the face of it the Lead Battery 360° initiative, announced on 3 October 2022, is the launch of a brand new website that our TDi Digital team have designed and built on behalf of our clients.
But this new online home is merely the visible tip of a much larger body of work, drawing on all six of the core umbrella services that we offer at TDi: Strategy, Research, Audit, Digital, Impact and Communications.
The Lead Battery 360° project is a perfect example of the multifaceted approach we take to sustainability and supply chain challenges to ensure our clients are provided with robust solutions that address the issue from every angle and create meaningful impact.
Batteries will be indispensable for the green energy transition and the achievement of the Paris goals, and allow access to clean, reliable electricity that is one of the greatest challenges in low and middle income countries. Throughout its full lifecycle – from raw material, to production processes, use and recycling – the lead battery value chain has the potential for both harm and good.
When recycled responsibly lead batteries may be the best example of a fully functioning circular economy. Recycling rates can be close to 100% of the battery’s available for collection and almost all of the waste battery is recovered to make new batteries. Not only does this create well paid employment but it significantly reduces the need to mine virgin raw material. A typical new lead battery is comprised of 80% recycled material. Currently no other battery technology can achieve these statistics.
However, in some low and middle-income countries, improper and unregulated battery recycling of lead batteries can cause serious health risks for employees and nearby communities. Lead Battery 360° seeks to provide solutions to minimize risks by improving environmental, social and governance standards globally – thereby maximizing the potential of lead batteries to make positive contributions to sustainable development in every region of the world.
To support this mission, TDi used our extensive research and strategy capabilities to help develop an end-to-end programme that can be adopted by a broad range of the supply chain, with a particular focus on battery manufacturers and recyclers.
At the heart of the programme is a set of seven guiding principles on lead stewardship.
The guiding principles established by the associations include commitments to:
· Support responsible battery manufacturing and recycling by placing environmental health and safety excellence at the heart of our operations.
· Promote the sound management of lead exposure and emissions by setting continuous improvement targets and sharing best practices
· Adopt responsible sourcing policies for lead containing materials, seek to identify risks in the supply chain, and use our influence to promote best practices for EHS performance in suppliers’ operations.
· Minimise the environmental impact of our products by encouraging the development of programmes that ensure effective collection, transportation and environmentally sound recycling of used lead batteries.
· Adopt business practices that consider the communities impacted by our operations, respect the human and labour rights of our employees and work against corruption in all its forms.
· Proactively engage key stakeholders in an open and transparent manner.
· Partner with key stakeholders and government agencies to share our expertise and promote environmentally sound recycling of lead batteries in low and medium-income countries.
Lead Battery 360° is based on the core values of Collaboration, Inclusivity, Accountability and Transparency. Participants commit to supporting global partners to tackle informal and substandard lead battery manufacturing and recycling worldwide.
This shared knowledge of environmentally sound management of lead battery manufacturing and recycling will also be used to advise NGO’s, governments, communities, and companies on best practice methods to help improve standards and protect communities.
Dr Steve Binks, of ILA, the program director, said:
“We all want to see an end to unregulated and substandard battery recycling and manufacturing where it exists, and this initiative aims to help countries where this is a problem improve through practical support and sharing best practice. Our guiding principles set the bar for the entire lead and lead battery value chain, ensuring that companies who are participants of Lead Battery 360° continue to meet the already very high standards in place to protect people and the environment. As worldwide demand for rechargeable batteries continues to grow, we are committed to promoting ethically sound battery recycling and manufacturing through our LeadBattery360° initiative.”
We’re proud to have been part of this solution for an industry that has the potential to demonstrate best practice for the circular economy, and excited to see the Lead Battery 360° initiative create lasting impact for recyclers and manufacturers globally in the years to come.
Find out more about Lead Battery 360° at leadbattery360.org now.