2Celsius has participated in the first General Assembly of the Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS) held in Brussels, the 11th and 12th of June 2024. Our reps took part in two working groups: energy & rare materials and environmental transparency.

We joined this very important European network in order to contemplate EV battery positives from environmental and social perspectives. We grew up in the school of environmental scepticism, hence the current drive in replacing internal combustion cars with electric vehicles might sound ill-conceived, to say the least. The massive issue lies in the materials that are needed for battery production.

However, positives stand out. The European Union’s Battery Regulation represents a pioneering legislative framework that comprehensively addresses the entire lifecycle of batteries, from production and distribution to recycling and disposal. This holistic approach ensures that all environmental, economic, and social impacts of batteries are meticulously regulated, promoting sustainability and innovation across the industry.

For civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, several compelling reasons underscore the importance of engaging with and advocating for the EU Battery Regulation. Firstly, this region is poised to become a significant player in the battery supply chain, given its rich deposits of essential raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel. The regulation mandates stringent sourcing practices, thus fostering transparency and ethical procurement, which could spur economic development while ensuring environmental protection and social responsibility.

Secondly, the regulation emphasizes the importance of recycling and the circular economy. Central and Eastern Europe, often grappling with legacy pollution and waste management challenges, stands to benefit substantially from the advanced recycling technologies and infrastructure investment that the regulation incentivizes. By aligning with these standards, countries in this region can mitigate environmental degradation and create new green jobs, further integrating into the broader EU market.

Moreover, the regulation aims to enhance battery performance and safety standards, which is critical for consumer protection and the reliability of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy storage systems. As Central and Eastern European countries are increasingly adopting EVs and renewable energy solutions, adherence to these standards will ensure that they are not left behind in the transition to a sustainable energy future.

Lastly, active involvement in the implementation and adaptation to the EU Battery Regulation can empower civil society organizations in this region to influence policy-making, advocate for local interests, and ensure that the socio-economic benefits of this regulatory framework are maximized. This engagement can lead to better-informed public policies that reflect the unique needs and capacities of Central and Eastern Europe, fostering regional cooperation and development.

In summary, the EU Battery Regulation presents an unprecedented opportunity for Central and Eastern Europe to enhance its role in the global battery value chain, promote sustainable development, and address environmental and social challenges through progressive regulatory compliance.