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Conservation Contribution Scheme

Building a Sustainable Business

Strengthening Communities
Partnership & Collaboration
Direct Impact
Your Contribution Counts

Your Contributions Making a Difference

A cornerstone of our commitment as a sustainable travel company is our Conservation Contribution Scheme – a scheme designed to help conserve and enhance those natural assets which are vital to our environmental, community and economic wellbeing. At the end of 2017 we 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 Group would make a £5,000 minimum donation to the trust per year, and in return for providing this minimum amount we work with the trust to decide which projects our funds would support. We decided upon this approach based upon customer feedback, specifically it would be better if those funds raised through the Conservation Contribution Scheme could be associated with identified projects rather than the general work of the charity.

The funds to support this partnership come from our Conservation Contribution Scheme – an optional payment that is made directly to us by our clients as part of their booking. Since the launch of the scheme we, together with you as our valued clients, have raised over £50,000 for the John Muir Trust and other conservation organisations.

Our most recent project work with the John Muir Trust has been in Scotland but as their reach continues to expand into England then we anticipate our Conservation Contribution Scheme being able to support future work in the Lake District. This includes the management of 1,000 hectares of common land which includes the summit of the iconic mountain of Helvellyn. You can read more about the mission and work of the John Muir Trust here.

Commitment to Sustainability

From 2018 our Conservation Contributions increased from £5 to £10 per person per booking – this is the first increase since the scheme launched in 2010. It’s hoped that this will increase the overall size of the annual fund 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 funds raised to the JMT, any amount over this figure can go toward other worthwhile environmental causes. Our ambition within the Wilderness Sustainability Team is to be able to able to put funds toward other projects. In recent years this has included native habitat restoration with the charity Trees for Life and the funding for  installation of a “Seabin” on the West Coast of Scotland as an effective method of capturing plastic ocean waste.

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. We’ve been doing this for 20 years and we know that the road is a long one and, at times, not always clear. However, we are committed to giving it out best shot and make as much of a positive impact as we can.

While the Conservation Contribution Scheme has an environmental focus, of equal importance to us is the positive impact our business can have in the places we work. Anyone who has travelled with us will recognise our commitment to “local”, supporting, wherever we possibly can, local guides, accommodations, restaurants, transport and other tourist services. This commitment means that over 90% of the land cost of your holiday stays in the destination rather than going elsewhere. This compares to as little as 20% in some of the main tourist destinations around the world. 

This commitment to local communities and economies provides valuable employment and income to communities which are often remote. In many of these locations, tourism is the industry and contributes significantly to the social fabric of the area. 

Through our in-house volunteering programme we also 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. Each member of the Wilderness Team is supported to volunteer up to three days per annum during work time, meaning the business provides over 100 days of volunteering time to good causes over the year. Recent examples of our volunteering work include:

  • Social-Environmental Projects: The Family Travel Association, The Cairngorm Ski Club, Kingussie Bikeathon
  • Wider Industry Activities: ATTA Guide Standards, ISKGA, Balkans Regional Tourism Development and the World Guide Awards


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

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