Joint Open Letter from Academics on Sector-Specific Reporting Standards

February 6, 2024

Academics urge European Commission to not withhold crucial Sector-Specific Reporting Standards

21 academics from a number of leading universities and institutions across Europe have penned an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and key Commissioners urging for the timely adoption of sector-specific sustainability reporting standards.

In October last year, the Commission proposed to postpone these sector-specific standards for two years. The letter highlights the critical role of such standards in supporting businesses with their reporting obligations, such as by providing guidance on the material topics that businesses should prioritise within their sector context.

A decision among the co-legislators is expected for Wednesday, 7 February, late in the evening, when Parliament, Commission and Council officials meet for Trilogue negotiations. The academic community expresses concern over the European Commission’s proposal to postpone the sector standards, drawing on the evidence of benefits that these standards could bring: “This suggestion jeopardises not only the immediate benefits of sector standards for sustainable development and the financial sector but also deprives companies of guidance for their reporting obligation under the CSRD,” say the academics.

You can read the full letter here.

The letter outlines three key recommendations for the European Commission:

1. Timely Adoption of High-Impact Sector Standards

2. Prioritise EFRAG’s sector-specific work

3. Consider Pilot Studies/Projects


In October 2024, the European Commission proposed to postpone the adoption of sector-specific sustainability reporting standards (ESRS) until June 30, 2026. The proposal for a decision is part of a package issued with a view to “rationalising reporting requirements”. A decision by the European Parliament, Council and Commission on the proposal is due to be confirmed by Friday, 9 February. Final negotiations will take place on Wednesday evening, 7 February. Last week, the European Parliament’s responsible JURI Committee agreed to the proposal. They asked the Commission, however, to already publish eight sector-specific standards as soon as they are finalised by EFRAG.