Australia Sustainable Food, Environment, & Social Systems 2017

Blog site for the 2017 MSU study abroad program.

06-Alex D.

Hey everyone I’m Alex Desautel and I am a junior supply chain management major here at Michigan State University. I am from just down the road in Okemos, Michigan. A couple of things about myself, I love playing and watching sports and it doesn’t matter the sport. I am also on the club hockey team here at MSU and I am really looking forward to this experience. I have always wanted to go to Australia and this study abroad allowed me to go and still receive credits in classes that I need to graduate.

While we are in Australia I would like to research what supply chain challenges affect business in Australia and how businesses are adapting to them. As well as how businesses are trying to become more sustainable.


1.) What is your current biggest challenge with regards to your supply chain, whether is be through procurement, logistics or operations?

2.) How are you trying to make your business more sustainable?

3.) How are you adapting to the current supply chain or sustainability issues you are facing?

Final Blog Post:

We made it back safe and sound and what an amazing trip it was! It as an awesome experience to travel around Australia with a great group of and learn so much about sustainability. My research stayed pretty much the same from when we started. While in Australia I was trying to learn more about how Australia’s unique location and isolation forces businesses to adapt and become more sustainable in order to succeed.

While we were in country we visited many different places and met many different people along the way. During these visits I got to learn more about both my topic as well as others I had not even considered. There were so many interesting activities, from the Dark Horse Cafe to start our trip to the  Sydney Fish Market to end it, and people. This was good because not every tour had to do with your topic but you could still remain engaged.

The Melbourne Wholesale Market was our first stop bright and early on day 2 and it provided me with a unique market that I had not seen before. At this market there were many suppliers that each had their own stall and would display their goods. Then a guide would walk potential buyers through the market and they would barter with the suppliers for their goods and if they bought them they would leave that morning with the goods they bought, not matter the amount they bought. In this type of setting I expected a highly competitive bidding war as each supplier tried to sell to the buyers. However that was not the case, as most suppliers were in good relations with one another and would not undercut their neighbor to make a sale.



Figure 1.1: Melbourne Wholesale Market Floor

In Australia we had many different site visits of varying topics. One of the first visits we had was at a Barramundi fishery called Melbourne Barra. While we were there I was able to interview the owner of the fishery, Andrew Grant. He explained to me how he started his business and answered my questions on what problems his business faced. Originally he said it was hard to get buyers because he was an unknown face in the business and was dealing with primarily the Eastern markets. However, once he had his foot in the door he found it easier to find buyers as he was selling a premium product that buyers were looking for. He emphasized the importance of maintaining relationships with his clients and that his customer service was vital. He explained how if he didn’t treat his buyers as if they were his most important clients, they would leave and find another source of Barramundi that would treat them that way. When I asked him about the isolation of Australia having an effect on business, he responded with it’s not usually an issue as buyers seeking a premium product were willing to pay more for it and that the Eastern markets especially were there because they wanted to be. The only real downside of the isolation, according to him, was the increased shipping costs but, as he stated earlier, his clients were willing to pay the extra cost to receive a premium product.


Figure 1.2: Melbourne Barra Fishery

Overall I was surprised by my findings in-country. Going in I thought that because of the isolation and location of Australia that businesses would suffer and not be very sustainable. However, what I found was that for the most part the opposite was true. Businesses adapt to their environment and became more community oriented. This is not only sustainable for the businesses but for the communities as well as they put money back into the community.

I am so glad to be home as I missed my friends and family but I am so grateful for the opportunity to go on this study abroad program. It truly was an amazing experience from meeting all the wonderful people on our trip to learning about sustainability, something that has a great impact on both our present and future.

Sources and Links:

Dark Horse Cafe

Melbourne Wholesale Market

Melbourne Barra

Sydney Fish Market

Yates Electrical Red Mud Energy Project

Carbon-neutral. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2017, from                         

Mena, C., Christopher, M., & Van Hoek, R. (2018). LEADING PROCUREMENT          STRATEGY: driving value through the supply chain. S.l.: KOGAN PAGE.

Shipping Accidents. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2017, from

Sustainable Development. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2017, from

Whitaker, V. (2014). Australian companies fail to identify sustainability risks and             opportunities. the Guardian. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from    companies-fail-identify-sustainability-risks-opportunities

The World Factbook: AUSTRALIA. (2017, July 26). Retrieved July 29, 2017, from           

Overcome Supply Chain Sustainability Challenges | LINC: Logistics Information & Navigation Centre. (2017). Retrieved 15 April 2017, from

Taylor, C. (2015). Australia’s top ten companies for sustainability. HR Online. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from



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