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Download the Authority-Based Insetting Framework Report


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.
Authority 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.


Learn more about Authority Based Insetting

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

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.

These challenges include:

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

To overcome these challenges, Anthesis has developed Authority Based Insetting

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.

What is Authority Based Insetting?

Authority 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 is authority based insetting?


Anthesis embarked on developing the guidance for Authority Based Insetting with 13 local authorities



With the support from these 13 councils, Anthesis has developed a practical guide for local authority representatives seeking to establish their own Authority 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

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.


What makes Authority Based Insetting unique?

As councils look to implement actions to reduce their emissions, new approaches will need to be developed to help drive action. Authority 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.

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.

Find out more about our supporting services for local authorities

Our Tools

Anthesis has significant experience supporting local authorities who have declared a climate emergency and are working towards Net Zero. For more information click here.

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.

What Next?

Anthesis is committed to continuing the development of the ABI framework. The second phase of the project will be focused on how to put ABI into practice. To achieve this, Anthesis will look to:

  1. Scale the number of local, investable ABI projects
  2. Support ABI implementation and application by local authorities
  3. Develop digital tools and platforms

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

Local Authority Resources

UK Local Authority | ​Climate Emergency Guide​

Net Zero Cities

Anthesis is in the unique position to have the ability to support local authorities with all stages of their climate emergency journey from analytics right through to the solution and implementation.


Offsetting Challenges for Local Authorities

Net Zero Cities

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.


Anthesis Group to Develop Dedicated Insetting Solution for UK Local Authorities

Net Zero Cities

Anthesis Group has launched an innovative Authorities-Based Insetting (ABI) initiative with a group of pioneering UK local authorities to accelerate the boroughs’ progress to Net Zero and benefit from their insetting investment choices locally.



Meet the ABI team

Matt Rooney
Associate Director

Cities & Decarbonisation

Matt leads Anthesis’ work with cities and regions and developed the concept of Authority Based Insetting. He has led the development of the SCATTER tool, produced climate actions plans for councils, such as Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and has conducted extensive stakeholder engagement sessions to help local authorities set and meet their targets.

Simeran Bachra
Principal Consultant

Cities & Decarbonisation

Simeran has an extensive understanding of the drivers and challenges cities and local authorities face. She has expertise and experience in supporting local authorities in setting science-based targets, developing climate action plans, and collaborating with key stakeholders to co-create solutions.


We’d love to hear from you

We are happy to further discuss ABI with local authorities and organisations that are interested and welcome feedback, thoughts, and interests to further develop the concept. Please use the form below to get in touch.


what is authority based insetting?

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