To know more about the MoU and the expectations from both organisations, Francesca has interviewed Dr. Torsten Freund Head of Project Management “Battery Passport” from Global Battery Alliance and BASF SE

Francesca: The EU Green Deal and Circular Economy Plan have a global impact on industry because they involve a new economic model that can’t be implemented only in one region. The EU has clarified which sectors have been prioritised and that it is drafting horizontal plus sector specific legislation introducing new circular data requirements. 

The first sector is represented by batteries including electrical vehicles, industrial and portable ones. Given the important role they play in the rollout of zero-emission mobility and the storage of intermittent renewable energy, batteries are a crucial element. 

The Global Battery Alliance, GS1 and GS1 in Europe agreed on an MoU, signed on 20th May to deliver a digital product passport. 

Additionally, a Battery Passport will become one key enabler in the EU's transition to a climate neutral economy. The new EU regulation on sustainable batteries is meant to modernise the EU's regulatory framework of batteries to secure the sustainability and competitiveness of battery value chains. 

It introduces mandatory requirements on sustainability such as carbon footprint rules, minimum recycled content, performance and durability criteria, safety and labelling for the marketing and putting into service of batteries, and requirements for end-of-life management. The proposal also includes due diligence obligations for economic operators as regards the sourcing of raw materials.

Let’s hear directly from Dr. Torsten Freund Head of Project Management “Battery Passport” from Global Battery Alliance and BASF SE

Since July 2020, Torsten has been delegated to GBA from BASF. Torsten now leads the program to develop the GBA Battery Passport as a digital twin of an Electric Vehicle Battery reporting all relevant ESG performance KPIs of the supply chain. Moreover, the GBA Battery Passport Ecosystem will be designed to become the key instrument fostering a sustainable and circular battery economy.

The GBA represents more than 80 organizations, including:

 

                                                        Source: Global Battery Alliance

 

Francesca: GS1 in Europe supports the EU circular economy plan and the development of a product passport concept and it has been assessing how the GS1 standards can support this change. How would you Torsten summarise the GBA positioning towards the new EU requirements? 

Torsten: the GBA supports the EU efforts as well and when, back in 2020, BASF asked me to lead this program, my first goal was to find the best way to keep the whole supply chain focused on how to embed sustainable practices and circular economy approaches to become a major driver to meet the EU Green deal and the Paris Agreement.

Our first goals are:

  • Embedding circular economy approaches to become a major driver to achieve the Paris Agreement
  • Creating new jobs, additional economic value and contributing to establishing a low-carbon economy
  • Safeguarding human rights and economic development consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

 

Francesca: based on our discussions, I understand the Battery Passport will have several functions including: transparency, benchmarking and standard setting, progress tracking and validation. We would like to know more about your expectations regarding the GS1 standards in those areas.

Torsten: regarding transparency, we see more and more requests from multiple stakeholders around the world to monitor supply chains’ sustainability by understandable, authenticated, standardized, and meaningful data. We think that the GS1 open standards can enable well-structured data transparency.

Benchmarking across comprehensive sustainability issues will allow identifying the individual participant’s own rank in the sustainability performance. Consequently, the peer comparison provides incentive to continuously improve. 

And lastly, progress tracking over time will reveal the effectiveness of improvement efforts and help participants achieving optimal performance.

GS1 open standard will be a technical foundation for the above mentioned  aspects to unambiguously identify individual batteries and their components. The sustainability information will be attached to this set of master data and accompany the entire battery life until the final recovery of materials fed back into the next product cycle.

The implementation will proceed stepwise. The core will be a limited set of data comprising of identifiers and static data to trace the materials and components into the battery. Subsequently, information reporting a GHG footprint and Child Labor compliance will be added to the core while adding further parameters to comprehensively cover relevant ESG KPI.

GBA and GS1 in Europe are holding regular meetings to develop the GBA Battery passport for batteries. If you are a GS1 MO colleague and you are willing to join please contact us.