Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Area Based Insetting - Anthesis



Anthesis is embarking on an innovative solution alongside local authorities to design an alternative to traditional offsetting for UK local authorities. 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 benefit, changing political priorities, and limited resources and capacity to deliver action.
Area Based Insetting aims to provide insetting options for local authorities within their boundaries. It is a mechanism to:

  • Meet Net Zero: ABI can support councils in meeting Net Zero across their borough by helping to reduce emissions locally.
  • Drive action locally: ABI ensures 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 within the city. ABI provides routes for collaboration with stakeholders across the borough.


What makes Area Based Insetting unique?

As councils look to implement actions to reduce their emissions, new approaches will need to be developed to help drive action. Area Based Insetting is a new approach to attract finance and report carbon savings. Anthesis is helping local authorities to meet their challenges by:

  • Making more projects happen: ABI offers a way to stimulate greater investment in carbon-saving projects locally.
  • Enabling better reporting: Ensuring that local authorities can quantify and report the carbon impacts in a robust and consistent manner and setting the standard for UK local authorities.

The process of developing ABI will be continuous as we look to refine and develop the solution, and we welcome other local authorities and organisations to get involved. It is critical that we drive emissions reductions within local authorities while also ensuring there is a local benefit. We hope ABI will help to provide a mechanism for projects to be showcased, invested in, and allow for increased collaboration.

Why Now?

Cllr Kim Caddy, Wandsworth’s cabinet member for climate change, said:

The Authority Based Insetting initiative is part of our plan to meet our ambitious climate change goals. We believe that targeting investment within the borough using this framework will bring a multitude of benefits to Wandsworth, not least by accelerating a low carbon future for our residents and playing our part in the UK reaching Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Why Now?

With over 300 local authorities declaring a climate emergency and many setting Net Zero targets, local authorities are now considering carbon offsets for the first time as a means to achieve their goals. While avoiding and reducing emissions remains the priority, the ability to achieve Net Zero by 2030 will be extremely difficult without a form of offsetting due to the scale of technology and investment required. However, for local authorities, traditional offsetting options may present even greater challenges than for the corporate market.

To overcome these challenges, Anthesis has developed Area Based Insetting

magnifying glass Increased public scrutiny
cooperation Difficulty in retaining co-benefits locally
investment Currently, certified offsets do not offer a financial return on investment
certification Limited supply and impact of UK certified options

What Next?

Anthesis is committed to continuing the development of the ABI framework. The third phase of the project will continue to focus on putting ABI into practice. To achieve this, Anthesis will look to:

  1. Support stakeholder engagement and education
  2. Embed and operate ABI within Local Authorities
  3. Identify and report more carbon saving projects
  4. Complete an ABI ‘match funding’ transaction
  5. Enhance the digital platform
  6. Continue facilitating knowledge sharing between Local Authorities

If you would like to support future phases of the Authority Based Insetting project, please contact to explore how you can get involved.

Download the ABI Report

What is Area Based Insetting?

Area Based Insetting is a new mechanism that builds on the principles of traditional ‘insetting’ by shifting the focus of the carbon saving project into the geographic boundary of a local authority. The authority boundary could be set at an individual district or unitary borough, along with counties and combined authority boroughs.

What does Offsetting and Insetting mean?

A carbon offset represents a reduction of CO2e in greenhouse gas emissions that would not have happened otherwise. It enables organisations to compensate for any emissions they cannot avoid or reduce by buying carbon credits, which allows them to pay for an equivalent amount of emissions to be reduced or removed elsewhere.

Insetting is an alternative to traditional offsetting, where instead of offsetting using an emissions reduction activity outside of the organisation’s scope, the organisation targets emissions that are within its value chain.

Learn more about Area Based Insetting

Hear from the Anthesis Team about Area Based Insetting (ABI) and discover why it is important and how it is relevant to you.

Learn more about the Area Based Insetting Phase 2 Update

Learn more about Area Based Insetting Phase 2 Update

This webinar provides information on the latest developments of ABI. It provides an overview of the progress made include information about projects validated, an update on the digital platform, and information on its operating model. Also hear from Local Authorities and how they hope to see ABI utilised in their areas.

Download the Area-Based Insetting Framework Report

ABI Sponsors

With the support from these 13 councils, Anthesis has developed a practical guide for local authority representatives seeking to establish their own Area Based Insetting mechanism. By working with a variety of local authorities, we ensured that ABI would be relevant for all types of local authorities. In addition to the guidance, Anthesis reviewed a project from each council to test the effectiveness of the ABI methodology.

More information on these projects can be found in the ‘Local Authority Projects: ABI Review’ report.

We are committed to doing everything we can to reduce our emissions as an organisation by 2030 but recognise that there may still be some carbon emissions that we have not been able to completely eliminate by this date. Through this partnership with leading sustainability experts Anthesis and other local authorities, we will contribute to and benefit from a framework that supports us to offset those remaining emissions in a standardised way, as well as investing locally in tackling the climate emergency.

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts
Chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee
London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames

ABI Phase 2 2022 Sponsors

ABI Phase 1 Sponsors

Supporting Services

At Anthesis, we work with local and national governments, businesses and developers all over the world to activate sustainability solutions. From quantifying the impact to create a persuasive business case for change through to designing strategies and delivering them on the ground, we work with clients to deliver more sustainable, low carbon cities and regions.

As the largest group of dedicated sustainability experts in the world, with deep expertise across climate change, biodiversity and waste, we can find solutions to the complex urban sustainability challenges that cities and regions face.

Our Expertise

Anthesis has significant experience supporting local authorities who have declared a climate emergency and are working towards Net Zero.
Find out more about our Local Authority services

SCATTER: Anthesis developed the SCATTER tool (Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction), which is free to use for all local authorities. This provides a current GHG baseline for area-wide emissions and models different trajectories for emissions reduction to 2050.

Anthesis Project Carbon Impact Tool: Anthesis, with the support from Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and Cheshire East Council, has developed a project carbon assessment tool. The tool helps to quantify the carbon impact of both capital and revenue projects and better embed the financial cost of carbon within the decision-making process.