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      Conservation Contribution Scheme

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      Your Contributions Making a Difference

      At the end of 2017 Wilderness Scotland signed a new partnership with the John Muir Trust to become a Peak Partner of their organisation. The essence of the partnership is that Wilderness Scotland make a £5,000 minimum donation to the trust per year, and in return for giving this minimum amount we get to say what project we would like the trust to spend our donation on. This suits us because we have a long history of partnership with the JMT but in the past we did not know whether our funds were going toward projects on the ground or simply toward the trust’s running costs. As a sustainable business, it’s important to us that we find ways to engage with the conservation of the landscapes in which we operate.

      The funds for this donation come from our Conservation Contributions – an optional payment that is made directly to us by our clients as part of their booking. Our partnership in 2018 has been funded by the contributions given in 2017, which totalled £5,675.

      After a vote within the Wilderness Scotland team it was decided that the funds from 2017 should go toward the JMT’s property on the Isle of Skye, where the trust manages extensive estates including within the Cuillin scenic area. As Skye has gained a fair amount of negative press recently due to the impacts of over-tourism in some places this is a great choice, and will give both action and credibility to our position as a sustainable tour operator trying to both reduce and reverse damage to natural environments.

      Commitment to Sustainability

      From 2018 our Conservation Contributions increased from £5 to £10 per person – the first increase in a long time. It’s hoped that this will increase the size of the pot we have at the end of the year to put toward our conservation projects.

      While we are committed to giving at least £5,000 of the annual pot to the JMT, any amount over that total can in theory go toward other worthy causes. Our ambition within the Green Team is to be able to able to put funds toward projects in 3 categories – Earth, Water and Air. This is what we are calling the ‘3 Elements’ of conservation. The ‘Earth’ category would include projects such as habitat restoration, footpath repair, tree planting etc so our partnership with JMT falls there. Examples of causes we wish to work on in the other categories would be ocean plastic and improving air quality.

      Conservation is just one part of our efforts to become a genuinely sustainable business; our long term goal is a business that is  beneficial to the environment, our communities, our economy and ourselves. It will be a long road to get there, and right now we are still trying to figure out which way to hold the map, but with the long term efforts of the whole team we believe this can be done.

      While The £5,000 per annum Peak Partnership represents just a small part of our total economic impact as a business, it’s worth bearing in mind where the rest of our revenue goes. Approximately 90% of this goes into the local economies where we work. In 2017 the economic impacts of our work were as follows:

      • 36 ‘Full Time Equivalent’ employed + estimated 26 indirect FTE jobs
      • £6.92m estimated impact in the local economies of Scotland and North of England

      This helps strengthen the position of local communities in the areas we work, providing valuable employment and income to communities that are often remote. The profit we retain and reinvest strengthens our own business, and helps to ensure that the benefits of it can continue in the long term.

      Through our volunteering programme we dedicate a significant number of hours toward good causes, both at a local level and in donating expertise to engage with and influence our industry as a whole:

      • Social-Environmental Projects: Family Travel Association, Cairngorm Ski Club, Big 60
      • Wider Industry Activities: ATTA Guide Standards, ISKGA, Balkans Regional Dev, CBP, World Guide Awards

      Sustainability

      Learn more about Wilderness Scotland’s commitment to sustainable tourism.

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