“COP26 highlighted the need to be able to better hold businesses and governments to account and connect finance with projects ‘on the ground’. We believe Authority Based Insetting supports both of these needs, which will also help to unlock many additional economic and social benefits for UK communities.”
Associate Director, Anthesis
Councils across the country have set ambitious climate targets with the goal of significantly reducing emissions and increasing resilience. However, implementing this ambition is difficult as councils navigate financial considerations, local benefits, changing political priorities, and limited resources and capacity. To overcome this challenge, collaboration is needed through new mechanisms to finance and measure the impact of carbon reduction projects.
Authority Based Insetting (ABI) is a new mechanism that builds on the principles of traditional ‘insetting’ by shifting the focus of the carbon saving project from a value chain into the geographic boundary of a local authority. The authority boundary can be set at an individual district or unitary borough, along with counties and combined authority boroughs.
The project commenced in March 2021, led by Anthesis with the funding and support from 13 local authorities across the UK: Blackburn with Darwen Council, Brighton and Hove City Council, Cheshire East Council, Horsham District Council, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Oxford City Council, Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council, Shropshire Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Trafford Council, Wandsworth London Borough Council, and West Sussex County Council.
Authority Based Insetting (ABI) helps local authorities to:
- Meet Net Zero: Supporting councils in meeting Net Zero across their borough by helping to reduce emissions locally.
- Drive action locally: Ensuring there is a local benefit by driving the implementation of projects within the borough boundary, ultimately helping councils to reduce emissions across their borough.
- Provide financial incentives: Stimulating greater investment in carbon-saving projects locally, enabling public and private finance to be more easily combined to maximise impact.
- Increase collaboration: Meeting the city’s target is not possible without action from others. ABI provides routes for collaboration with stakeholders across the borough.
“We are pleased to support this project which is committed to speeding up local authorities’ progress to Net Zero. Our aim is for Leicestershire to be at the heart of a green economy. And we want to explore how we can attract more investment for local low carbon projects, as well as deliver a range of other benefits by improving the local environment, creating green jobs and supporting new business sectors. We are a green council and hope that creating a consistent approach for local authorities will kickstart many more carbon reduction projects.”
Cllr Blake Pain
Cabinet Lead Member for the Environment and Green Agenda
The first phase of the project set out to develop a mechanism that will help UK local authorities to make more projects happen by stimulating greater investment in carbon-saving projects locally and providing a robust and consistent way to quantify and report on carbon impacts, setting the standard for UK local authorities on this topic.
The ABI framework provides local authorities with key principles and considerations when implementing ABI in their area. The framework covers:
- Project identification: Increasing visibility of more ‘shovel ready’ investable projects.
- Investment incentives: Putting measures in place to attract and access more finance.
- Impact reporting: Measuring project impacts and reporting progress effectively.
To test and enhance the ABI framework, each local authority that participated in this phase presented a pilot project. Projects included building retrofits, installing solar PV, tree planting and transport schemes, demonstrating how ABI can be a suitable mechanism for a variety of projects that can help drive emissions reductions across a local authority. Local authorities can now utilise the ABI concept to determine the relevance for their local authority and understand where they can begin building and improving their project pipelines.
Anthesis is committed to continuing the development of the ABI framework and the second phase of the project will focus on how to put ABI into practice. To achieve this, Anthesis will look to scale the number of local, investable ABI projects and support implementation and application by local authorities.