Q&A with Morphum Environmental

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In this Q&A find out how Morphum Environmental Ltd, an engineering and environmental consultancy, is achieving international success and why it’s funding a First Foundation scholarship in environmental engineering.

Morphum Environmental Ltd is an engineering and environmental consultancy specialising in civil and three waters (water, waste water and stormwater), sustainable land development, environmental services and sustainable management. In a nutshell, Morphum Environmental will help your organisation improve its sustainability performance through the application of sustainable management practices, environmental science and innovative engineering approaches. 

At the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards night Morphum Environmental committed to providing a $22,000 First Foundation Scholarship in 2016 for an environmental engineering student. This is but one powerful example of Morphum Environmental’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Recently Morphum Environmental’s first sustainability report was announced as a finalist in the international Corporate Register Reporting Awards 2016 (CRRA’16) for the category Best 1st time report.

In the following Q&A, Morphum Environmental Sustainability Advisor Julia Lindesay talks about embedding sustainability principles into projects, teaching clients about the financial incentive to be sustainable and encouraging young people into engineering and science.

What’s at the core of Morphum Environmental’s business practices? 

We value planet over profit and that means the application of our core values of innovation, collaboration, and practical sustainability as well as ensuring the environmental and social bottom line is given equal weight alongside the financial bottom line.

We focus on embedding sustainability into every project, from project inception through construction, creating better solutions for our clients, problems.

How do you build sustainability into the core of the projects?

Sustainability is embedded in our work culture through our workflow processes and in our internal policies and procedures. We are continually reviewing these processes to make sure they are achieving the practical and future-proofed outcomes our clients are seeking.

It is often more likely that sustainability assessments are undertaken for really large infrastructure projects due to their relative budgets and to enhance their image. However, the majority of projects in New Zealand are quite small – as a result the main impacts on our environment come from an accumulation of effects from small projects. One of Morphum’s key points of difference is our capacity to bring a sustainability lens to medium sized or very small projects.

Is the engineering sector full of sustainable businesses or is part of Morphum Environmental’s job introducing clients to sustainability? 

Morphum Environmental is committed to walking the talk when it comes to sustainability and to being practical sustainability champions.  Some of our clients don’t necessarily seek us out for this point of difference; however, we always take the opportunity to provide the industry with a greater understanding of the benefits to be gained with a sustainability focus. Returning clients often recognise sustainabilty as an added value offering that achieves a better solution for their particular project or business problem. 

At the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards Morphum Environmental announced a $22,000 First Foundation Scholarship. Is there a lot of interest in Environmental Engineering from the tertiary sector? 

Morphum Environmental has always had a strong focus on mentoring young people and helping them to meet their career potential in the environmental engineering and science fields and we have always found a strong pool of environmental engineering graduates available.  However, we have noticed that there are many disadvantaged young people in Auckland that do not necessarily have a great understanding of how environmental engineering can be a career pathway and that it can also be a great way to give back to their community.  This scholarship is about helping these young people realise their potential.

As an island nation dependent on water for primary industries and leisure, does Morphum Environmental’s focus on water help students relate to the positive impact of your work? 

Water is a really tangible way to get people involved in the environment in Auckland.  We all really care about water because it’s such a big part of our natural environment and young people are no exception to this.

What’s the next step in Morphum Environmental’s continued growth? 

Morphum Environmental has consistently grown for more than a decade by offering timely, valued added solutions to our clients.  We intend to continue on the existing path of growth, financial viability and commitment to achieve our vision of being New Zealand’s leading environmental consultancy providing innovative, practical and sustainable solutions to our clients for better communities.

A further focus for Morphum Environmental in the near future is to continually improve our own internal sustainability performance.  We were very proud that our first sustainability report has recently been announced as a finalist in the international Corporate Register Reporting Awards 2016 (CRRA’16) for the category Best 1st time report.

Are visual representations key to future engagement around Morphum Environmental’s projects? 

Absolutely. One of our points of difference is helping people visualise environmental impacts and possible solutions. Helping people visualise engineering concepts is core to getting their engagement with a project.

What would the world look like without Morphum Environmental? 

The world would have one less business leader demonstrating that engineering companies of any size can deliver sustainable solutions to every project consistently, stretch the boundaries on conventional thinking AND be a profitable company employing talented Kiwis. This includes walking the talk internally and encouraging employees to stretch, lead and create ripples for sustainability across their endeavours.

Vote for Morphum in the 2016 CRRA Awards here.

Morphum afterMorphum before


Before and after photographs of an enhancement project carried out by Morphum Environmental around Alexandra Stream in Albany, Auckland, involving stream restoration and a large cycleway. The project was a finalist for the IPENZ Arthur Mead Environmental Award in 2015.