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    Understanding Your Trip’s Carbon Impact

    By Ross Keddie, Marketing Assistant
    More by Ross

    Doing Our Part

    At Wilderness Scotland, we believe that the only way to do business is sustainably. From how we engage with local communities and businesses, to investing in our staff, we have built a business that we think will last. More than twenty years on, it’s core to who we are and why we’ve been successful.

    Nothing is more crucial to us than preserving the environment. It’s baked into everything we do. From planning trips to be as low-carbon footprint as possible, to recycling in the office and limiting waste. With this in mind we’ve signed up to science-based targets to reduce our emissions down by 90% by 2030 and reach true net zero.

    It’s a tall order. However, by setting ourselves a high bar we think we’ll make the biggest impact. We’ve already surprised ourselves with how far we’ve come, and we hope to do even more by the time 2030 comes around.

    The first step for us was accurately understanding what carbon we use.

    Sustainable landscape is core to our values.

    What is Carbon Labelling?

    The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one, the second step is figuring out how big it is.

    Working with eCollective we set about figuring out where all our carbon came from. They specialise in consultancy that focuses on Carbon Footprint calculation. This involved looking at all of our products, activities and other things like our office building, transport, and our website which all produce carbon. Taken together, in a purpose-built equation, we could figure out an easy-to-understand and compare label.


    Example Trip – Carbon Breakdown


    How Do We Carbon Label Our Trips?

    The key to carbon labelling is clear and easy to understand reporting. For example, this means we track every mile in a van and calculate every meal’s footprint. These results and many more can build an accurate picture of our carbon impact. Having these figures front of mind every time we make a decision, we can make choices and develop trips which are ultimately better for the planet. That means we can lower driving times, choose more eco-friendly accommodations, and select more local and lower carbon food options – all without compromising trip quality.

    So, what’s counted?

    • Transport
    • Activities
    • Food
    • Office Activity
    • Accommodation – with help from partners.

    What’s not counted?

    • Travel to get to the starting point of your guided trip.
    • Meals and activities not included in the itinerary.

    Carbon Labelling pie chart

    What About External Partners?

    That’s a great question! Although working with a consultancy was great for us, it often isn’t possible for the smaller partners which we like to use in rural places. That’s why we built a questionnaire to extend the knowledge we got from eCollective to our partners.

    By filling out this questionnaire, they could understand their own carbon label for each night. This could even be as specific as to the carbon output of what various room types our accommodation providers have and what restaurant dishes are served. We can also offer advice on making their services more eco-friendly and how to apply for green/environmental certification which shows guests their commitment and efforts to operate in a more sustainable way.

    77% of travellers aged 18 to 29 and 48% aged 51 and over said sustainability affected their travel decisions. Therefore this is more crucial than ever for small and medium businesses.

    Carbon Labelling of accommodation is crucial.

    In Pursuit of Net Zero

    While we strive to make our trips as carbon friendly as possible, we realise that travel will always produce some carbon footprint. After all, the biggest challenge we face is being able to travel to and from the destination in as a sustainable manner as possible.

    First and foremost, our priority is on reducing our own emissions and those that exist across our supply chain. For those carbon emissions we cannot eliminate from our operations, we use carbon offsets in line with best practice. At present this combines purchasing offsets through the United Nations Carbon Offset Platform – Climate Neutral Now and, our conservation partner Trees for Life who are leading the way locally on carbon removal.

    For our guests travelling internationally who book through our recommended flight company, Exito, we fully offset the carbon emissions arising from the journey through our partnership with Sustainable Travel International 

    Trees for Life

    Additionally, we’ve supported Tree for Life as they build their rewilding centre at Dundreggan. This first in the world establishment lies at the heart of a rewilding effort since 2008. As a result, it will continue to be an example to others and a base for rewilding work alongside providing education.

    For a more detailed look at carbon labelling and why our trips are a responsible way to travel, check out our sustainability page.

    Low Carbon Travel

    By booking a low carbon holiday with Wilderness Scotland, you can support sustainable tourism and have a positive impact on the environment while enjoying a unique and authentic travel experience.

    Low Carbon Holidays

    Meet the Author: Ross Keddie

    “Having grown up in Glasgow, I've always had restless feet. They've taken me across the ocean to North America, around Europe and all over Scotland. Having paused to get a degree in Adventure (yes, literally!) I'm incredibly lucky to be able to pursue my passion for writing and travel with Wilderness Scotland.”

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