Managing our Climate Change Impacts

As a key part of Scotland's civic society, the National Trust for Scotland is working to address its climate change impacts and play a full role in meeting national carbon reduction targets. With 1,500 buildings and hundreds of staff travelling between sites using a range of transport modes, calculating our carbon footprint is no easy task.

  Managing our Climate Impacts  

However, we have a Climate Change Action Plan which provides a robust approach to measuring the carbon emissions from our operations, including energy and water use, travel and transport, and waste disposal. Once we have a handle on this core carbon footprint, we will be looking at how to account for issues such as the carbon related to visitor travel, commuting, procurement, logistics, and land use. Some preliminary research into how we can measure these more difficult areas is already taking place. Calculating our carbon footprint will allow us to set targets to reduce our impact and measure our progress. A reduction in the global carbon footprint is vital for the survival of natural and cultural heritage that we protect and promote. You can download a summary of our Climate Change Action Plan here.

We believe in taking account of all our climate change impacts, but doing so in a way that is credible and consistent. Scotland has world-leading emissions reduction targets, and we will play our part.

Managing our Carbon Store


As one of Scotland’s largest landowners, we are aware of the impacts that managing this land can have on Scotland’s carbon emissions. Since we look after extensive areas of peat bog and woodland, the Trust has an important role to play in ensuring the carbon stored in these lands is not released back into the atmosphere. We therefore undertake to manage our woodlands and peatlands responsibly, and to further our understanding of how we can maximise the amount of carbon we store. To this end, we undertake peatland restoration projects and have carried out research investigating the impact of this restoration and estimating the stores of carbon in our woodlands and peatlands. Details of this research are available on the Trust’s Conserving Natural Capital minisite

  The Effects of Climate Change  

The National Trust for Scotland also contributes to knowledge of how climate change may be affecting our wildlife through the large number of surveys on habitats and species carried out by our rangers and ecologists. This includes regular monitoring of rare mountain plants, seabirds, butterflies, bats, breeding birds and mountain insects, amongst other things.For example, warblers have been monitored for over 32 years at Culzean, mountain plants for almost 30 years at Ben Lawers, and breeding seabirds for about the same time at St. Abb's Head.

All represent some of the longest pieces of monitoring work in Scotland and the UK. Insect pests have also been monitored, with a pilot study across 11 properties in 2009 using traps to establish the insects present. Other climate change-related surveying and monitoring programmes are planned across all properties.

  Our Environmental Policy  

Our overall approach to the environment is set out in the Trust’s Environment Policy. At an operational level, our properties are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme and we consider the sustainability of practices at our support bases and head office which support the properties.

We also have a Sustainable Visitor Charter on display at our properties to provide visitors with ideas as to how they can reduce their own environmental impact.

  Green Tourism  

All National Trust for Scotland visitor centres are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) as are an increasing number of our holiday cottages. Through this, we aim to contribute to Scotland as a sustainable tourism destination. You can see the award an individual property has received on their property page. The Green Tourism Business Scheme recognises good environmental and social practice across a wide range of criteria, and requires continual improvement. Properties are given a Bronze, Silver, or Gold GTBS award based on their performance. Since joining the scheme in 2007, the National Trust for Scotland has managed to steadily increase the number of Gold and Silver awards received by properties.

The GTBS both recognises the good work we do and also pushes us to improve. As part of this, we are always interested in our visitors' feedback, and you can get in contact about Green Issues from our contact form. Details of the GTBS and other members of the scheme can be found on the Green Business website.

   Useful links
  Scottish Environment Link  
  Scottish Biodiversity Forum  
  Stop Climate Chaos Scotland