Nevis Range

Case Study
With 400,000 visitors a year, Nevis Range is the UK’s leading mountain destination and the only one operating a mountain gondola.

Its exceptional winter sports and world-class mountain-biking facilities attract around 60,000 people a year and a further 140,000 use the gondola simply to appreciate and walk in Scotland’s most spectacular mountain scenery. As well as the gondola, Nevis Range operates a café, a restaurant, equipment hire and film location and spectator facilities. They also have a campervan site and their new hotel opens for visitors in 2023.


Operating in the iconic shadow of Ben Nevis, in one of the most revered landscapes in Scotland, the company has had to demonstrate the very highest levels of sustainability and environmental responsibility right from day one. Everyone who works there is deeply conscious of their environment and how precious it is, so they are doing everything they can to preserve and protect it.

Nevis Range actively recruits people who share their passion and vision for the environment. When asked if they used “green champions” within the business, Managing Director, Chris O’Brien replied “Everyone is a green champion here. Sustainability is in our DNA.”


Nevis Range operates in a National Scenic Area (NSA), includes part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is adjacent to a Special Area for Conservation (SAC). They are also subject to Scotland’s first Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) monitoring and management scheme. As a company whose existence is based on the quality of its environment, Nevis Range welcomes this level of scrutiny and is keen to rise to every environmental challenge and demonstrate best practice wherever it can.


Nevis Range became carbon neutral in September 2021. Their achievement is due, in no small part, to their investment in a small hydroelectric scheme in 2014. Capable of generating enough electricity for 1000 homes, it now provides sufficient renewable energy on site to supply the gondola and all of their hospitality facilities. Early adoption of renewable technology has served them very well and is now also insulating them from the financial consequences of the energy crisis.


Nevis Range is not just affected by the environment. It is the environment. They are directly affected by climate change. In the three decades since they started operations, they have seen the average snow line recede by 100 metres and the snow season which once started in mid-December doesn’t arrive until mid-January now. In 1989 when Nevis Range started operating, they would be closed due to high winds for roughly 2-3 days per year. They are now experiencing wind closures for 50 days of the year. Impacts like these are impossible to ignore and have concentrated minds at Nevis Range like few other businesses in Scotland.


Nevis Range understands the importance of using science-based targets to measure their carbon impacts and hired specialist consultants, Carbon Footprint™ to achieve a robust assessment of their performance. They recognised that this relatively small investment in expert advice would pay huge dividends in reducing their financial costs as well as their environmental impacts.


Using the downtime during the pandemic Nevis Range concentrated their efforts to become carbon neutral. They determined to work only with suppliers who were carbon neutral or on a clear pathway to achieving carbon zero emissions. Initially they though this would be difficult but working with other like-minded, and often local, businesses has actually helped forge closer working relationships. Moves to carbon neutrality have also proved valuable in securing support from government agencies.


The company’s carbon assessment revealed that, while 65% of their energy was coming from the hydro scheme, there was still work to do. Charging points for both bikes and cars have been placed strategically across the site. And, while a drive to paperless operations was largely successful, it has met with some resistance from consumers wanting hard copies of tickets.  



Catering operations at both the Pine Marten Café and the Snow Goose Restaurant have been switched to electric so both are now Carbon Zero. More efficient showers, smaller cisterns have helped reduce water use. The business has also taken a conscious decision not to use carbon fibre bike frames as aluminium is more easily recyclable.



The one significant area that Nevis Range are still having to offset is the diesel used to power their snow-going vehicles, however they are actively exploring the possibility of procuring electric snowploughs or finding ways to convert their diesels to run on 100% biodiesel.


The new hotel at Nevis Range has been designed to the very latest standards of thermal efficiency and the build was undertaken using local builders and materials. Nevis Range were keen that the interior fit out would be as environmentally friendly as the exterior. Working with leading artisan upcyclers, SCENEgineering, they have radically reduced the need for new furniture and fittings while reducing waste. They have reused old chairlift seats in the bar, upcycled corrugated iron, snow fencing and mats from the hill and the reception desk and DJ bar have been constructed using old gondola cars. They have repurposed a 40 ft container and old bikes for barstools. Even the drums used to supply cable for the gondola have been repurposed as tables.


Future of Tourism

We’ve joined the movement to reshape the Future of Tourism! We are excited to announce that Highland Tourism has signed the new set of Guiding Principles launched by the Future of Tourism Coalition. As a signatory, we commit to place destination needs at the centre of our recovery strategies and do our part to build a better tomorrow for travel and tourism. Read more here >>

Tourism Declares

We’ve signed up to Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful action to reduce their carbon emissions as per the advice from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030. Read more here >>

Sustainable Development Goals

We’ve subscribed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more here >>

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