Lead and lead-battery industry groups have adopted seven guiding principles designed to serve as a best practice in the protection of workers and the industry’s wider environmental impact.
The groups will develop performance indicators and policies to ensure continuous improvement in the management of lead exposure and emissions and minimise the environmental impact of used lead batteries.
The four US and Europe-based groups aim to address the improper use of substandard manufacturing and recycling operations within the lead battery industry— especially in emerging economies where informal lead battery smelting remains a huge concern.
The industry groups are: the International Lead Association (ILA), US-based Battery Council International (BCI), the Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) and EU-based battery association EUROBAT.
The groups have been working on the set of guiding principles since September.
The guiding principles are:
- 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
Marc Zoellner, EUROBAT President, and Chief Executive Officer of EU-based Hoppecke Batteries said: “The main goal of this programme is to work together with stakeholders such as leading global environmental authorities, NGOs and regulators and to help improve global standards especially in low and middle-income countries
A taskforce of the associations will oversee the project, which will include setting measures for member companies to assess their performance and ensure they are aligned with the guiding principles.
Additional resources will be provided to continue outreach and best practice sharing in low and middle-income countries alongside the United Nations Environment Programme and with NGOs who are working to reduce the impact of pollution from informal recycling of lead batteries.