Meet Gillian Davidson, Chair of the Board of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) and Sustainability Advisor at Eurasian Resources Group

 Tell us about the Global Battery Alliance and its flagship project, the Battery Passport

The Global Battery Alliance (GBA) is a multi-stakeholder organisation to establish a sustainable, responsible and circular battery value chain. Incubated at the World Economic Forum until its establishment as an independent organisation in 2021, the GBA now brings together around 120 members spanning the battery value chain – including the tech, automotive, software, mining and manufacturing sectors – along with governments, civil society and academia.

Our flagship Battery Passport project, which was launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in January, acts as a digital twin of a physical battery, collating and exchanging trusted data on a battery’s characteristics, ESG performance and rating via a quality seal.

Why is the Battery Passport so critical now?

Batteries hold the key to unlocking the net-zero transition. According to McKinsey, global demand for li-ion batteries is expected to grow by around 30% annually by 2030. Given the production of batteries is material- and resource-intensive and associated with environmental, social and human rights impacts, we cannot achieve Sustainable Development Goals without addressing and measuring this.

The GBA has been developing a Battery Passport as a practical tool to establish transparency over the provenance and sourcing of minerals like cobalt, nickel and lithium contained in batteries and how they are processed, manufactured, and recycled. The Battery Passport will provide credible data about a battery’s history and ESG performance, and the importance of this has been referenced in the draft EU directive on batteries.


How does the Battery Passport work?

The Battery Passport is essentially a digital product passport, which will establish a digital twin of a physical battery and provide stakeholders with information on three core elements:

  1. The technical data of the battery, such as its capacity, manufacturing history, recycled content, and disassembly instructions
  2. Tracking and tracing of the material flows (including provenance data across different supply chains)
  3. Consistent reporting against key ESG performance indicators

Using this information, we can identify batteries that are best and worst in class and provide minimum standards for a sustainable battery. This will help us validate and track progress on the pathway to more responsible, just and resource-efficient batteries.


How does the GBA’s Battery Passport differ from similar battery passport initiatives?

The need for greater transparency and assurance has resulted in the development of various traceability products. However, the GBA’s Battery Passport fundamentally differs from other initiatives by setting the standard for digital supply chain assurance based on a comprehensive definition of a sustainable battery. It provides the reporting framework for such solutions and is establishing itself as the global authority on sustainable and circular battery chains.

For example, in October the GBA launched the Greenhouse Gas Rulebook for the Battery Passport – the first framework of its kind to facilitate the collection of standardised, auditable, and comparable GHG data for batteries. In December, we published our Human Rights and Child Labour Indices and are currently piloting the operability of the Battery Passport across automotive value chains.

Where would you like to see the Battery Passport in the future?

Given the unprecedented demand for EVs and batteries, there is an urgent need to develop and roll out the GBA’s Battery Passport. Following the launch of the proof of concept in January 2023, we will build on the pilot findings and complete our work on the indicator framework, capturing the key sustainability parameters for circular and responsible battery value chains, such as indicators on biodiversity, pollution, circularity, etc.

Our goal is that all batteries will carry a quality seal as a trusted source of data to the value chain, governments and end-consumers, guiding purchasing and policy decisions and triggering improvement actions across the value chain.