Mobile technology and a low-carbon future are unthinkable without batteries, a core technological enabler of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The lithium-ion battery market – the strongest growing battery market segment– increased by 15% (CAGR) between 2005 and 2015 and the global battery market is estimated to see continued growth from currently $65 billion to a size of $100 billion by 2025. However, there are enormous costs. First, raw materials needed for batteries are extracted at a high human and environmental toll. This includes, for example, child labour, health and safety hazards in informal work, poverty and pollution. Second, a recycling challenge looms over the eleven million tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries forecast to be discarded by 2030, with few systems in place to enable reuse and recycling in a circular economy for batteries. Meanwhile, inappropriate lead-acid battery recycling causes severe health risks to millions globally. Third, significant innovation potential remains unexploited along the value chain to ensure that batteries fulfil their promise for sustainable development. The Global Battery Alliance seeks to address these challenges. As a global collaboration platform, it will catalyse and accelerate action towards a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and innovative battery value chain to power the Fourth Industrial Revolution.