The Chinese Battery Industry: The Truth behind the Charge

Abstract Section I and II of this paper will provide a comprehensive overview of the battery industry. Firstly, background information will be provided on the major Chinese brands, as well as a synopsis of production methods and locations, for the various models of batteries in mainstream circulation. Secondly, industry standards of safety, including but not limited to, occupational disease, labor conditions, and workers’ rights will be critiqued, highlighting previous failures to protect workers in the industry, while introducing proposals to safe guard employees in the future. Thirdly, the environmental implications for the creation and disposal of batteries will be assessed, along with current regulations that have been proscribed by certain governments to combat potential threats that the battery industry poses to their respective populations. Fourthly, the future of the industry, specifically in lithium battery production, will be analyzed through different facets. Fifthly, the evolution of the manufacturers’ role in the increasingly global economy, will lend insight as to how companies can increasingly recognize workers’ rights and freedom of expression. Section III presents findings concerning the labor conditions of ten battery factories in Guangdong province. In nearly all of them, some forms of non-compliance with labor laws stipulations or outright infringement of the legitimate rights of employees were found. The conclusion will summarize the paper’s main findings while outlining proactive measures that are beneficial for workers and companies alike.
Author Globalization Monitor, June 2012
8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries