Prof. Sam Aflaki: "To be Sustainable you need a vision"

27 November 2014

What is sustainable operations management about? What are its implications for managers and firms? More than a concept, “sustainable operations management is the science and art of utilizing organisations’ ressources efficiently and effectively to meet the demand, without depleting organisation’s and planet’s resources” says Sam Aflaki, professor in the Operations Management & Information Technology department at HEC Paris. 

In this video, Sam Aflaki explains some basic ideas to understand the main areas of sustainability from an operational point of view, specifically from a 'Triple P’ (People, Planet, Profit) perspective on sustainability.  He explains how operations management can take into account sustainability issues, explaining some trends in the field,  and giving us examples from various industries, including agri-food and retailing. He highlights the idea that in all industries there are risks and opportunities for managers associated with sustainability issues.

Lastly, Sam Aflaki shares his view on what he has learned from his experience with various types of organisations, including the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the Tanzanian NGO African Solar Rise. “To be sustainable you need a vision” he says, “a vision that constantly puts effort to align sustainability issues with long term goals of the organizations”.


More about Sam Aflaki

Sam Aflaki’s research on the interface between sustainability and policy design evolves in close contact with practitioners. He was assigned as academic director of industrial excellence award in France, making HEC Paris  as the 8th Top European Business School to support the industrial excellence award (IEA). The competition benchmarks European competitiveness in the industrial and service sectors and focuses on strategy deployment, that is, how organisations align distributed activities and knowledge to achieve common strategic goals on  management-quality. Additionally, Sam is the principal investigator of a large-scale research program on promoting ‘sustainable energy solutions’ under Qatar National Research Program. 

As part of his research on sustainable operations management Sam worked with a small NGO called African Solar Rise that provides solar energy solutions in Tanzania and faces several challenges in order to scale its organisation to generate much-needed revenue. For this work, Sam Aflaki (along with a team of other researchers from HEC Paris), won first place in the 2014 NextBillion Case Writing Competition which recognizes and publishes the best written case studies about business strategies aimed at alleviating poverty, especially in the developing world.

More links

"Finding and Implementing Energy Efficiency Projects in Industrial Facilities", Production and Operations Management , May-June 2013, vol. 22, n° 3, pp. 503-517 (in coll. with P. Kleindorfer, V. Sáenz de Miera Polvorinos).

Sam Aflaki and Andrea Masini, winners of the 2014 NextBillion Case Writing Competition for their case study "African Solar Rise: Electrifying Rural Tanzania"

HEC Paris professors win Qatar Foundation research grants

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