The year ahead: ILA’s Dr Andy Bush looks ahead and sets out the agenda for 2020 and beyond
There will be no let-up in the pace of change facing our industry in 2020, but we have never been in a stronger position to make a positive difference through innovation, supporting efforts to achieve a low carbon future.
The momentum building towards greater electrification and decarbonisation will see more countries following Europe’s attempt to embed a Green Deal, mainstreaming all forms of sustainability.
It is why the lead battery industry must continue to demonstrate its relevance and ability to support policy-makers who are looking to achieve carbon neutrality, whether in the United States, Europe or worldwide.
I have no doubt that industries demonstrating a commitment to innovation and the ability to achieve a smooth transition to a low carbon economy will thrive. Therefore, we will continue to invest in the work of the Consortium for Battery Innovation, (CBI) building on its reputation for research excellence and insight.
Our work with the battery industry in North America has benefited greatly from the Essential Energy Everyday campaign which has raised the bar in terms of awareness and engagement with policy makers and other influencers on the importance of lead batteries. We will continue to support this key communications effort in 2020 by ensuring the work of the CBI and other ILA initiatives remain closely aligned.
The year will see the start of consultations in the European Union about whether, or not, lead use should be phased-out under the REACH chemicals legislation. We will be working closely with our partners and downstream users to make the strongest possible case for lead, demonstrating why, responsibly manufactured and controlled, it is an essential metal for battery production and many other uses. And with that in mind we will be redoubling our efforts to promote the value of lead batteries through the Charge the Future campaign as 2020 heralds what will be a difficult challenge to maintain the existing exemption from the ban on use lead batteries in vehicles covered by the EU End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive.
Showing how as an industry we prioritise our responsibilities to protect people and the environment will feature strongly in 2020. In low and middle-income countries concerns about lead and safety are particularly acute where informal and inappropriate recycling of lead batteries is taking place. While we have supported more than 50 countries raising the standard of lead battery recycling in the last 20 years alone, we alongside our partner associations, Battery Council International, EUROBAT and Association of Battery Recyclers, will be rolling out our Material Stewardship programme which establishes guiding principles which will set the standard for the way we do business, will enhance responsible sourcing practices and our support for projects aimed at improving lead battery recycling practices globally.