Policies & regulations


Sustainability policies and regulations…

Define limits, rules, requirements, costs, incentives and penalties relevant to your industry and marketplace
Indicate which policies are mandatory and which are voluntary
Identify sustainability requirements for individual countries/regions (to be competitive, exporters need to know these!)

Policy types

There are three main types of policy and regulations that might create opportunities for you or require you to change in the future. Depending on your industry/market there might be mandatory and voluntary policies being used.

Here is a summary of the main types, with examples.


Mandatory: Bans, standards (health, safety, environment), quotas, licences, consumer rights, advertising rules, privacy, warranties, liabilities, trade restrictions, reporting

Voluntary: Targets, standards, agreements between government and industry


Mandatory: Taxes, fees, tariffs, charges, penalties, fines

Voluntary / Incentives: Green public procurement, loan guarantees, charges, reward schemes, incentives and subsidies


Mandatory: Reporting requirements, labelling, education

Voluntary: Certification schemes, awareness raising campaigns, Environmental Management Systems

Environmental and social policies and regulations in Australia guide the management of many sustainability issues.

There are national frameworks for reporting aspects of modern slavery, carbon emissions and energy consumption.

Each country may have individual policy instruments and requirements, which you can research via country government websites and trade promotion websites (such as Australia’s Austrade). For examples of voluntary and mandatory certifications used by some of our key trading partners, see Certification standards in other countries and Certification standards in Europe.