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:

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.

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.

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

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


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?

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.

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.

Access the webinar

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

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.

  • Arun Council
  • West Midlands Combined Authority
  • Wigan Council
  • Colchester Borough Council
  • Edinburgh Council
  • Lancashire County Council
  • Luton Council
  • North Tyneside Council
  • Wandsworth Council
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Horsham District Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Richmond Upon Thames Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Blackburn And Darwen Council
  • West Sussex County Council
  • Brighton And Hove City Council
  • Blackburn And Darwen Council
  • Brighton And Hove City Council
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Horsham District Council
  • Leicester City Council
  • Leicester County Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Richmond Upon Thames Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Solihull Borough Council
  • Trafford Council
  • Wandsworth Council
  • West Sussex County Council

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

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.

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.

The ABI Team


We are the world’s leading purpose driven, digitally enabled, science-based activator. And always welcome inquiries and partnerships to drive positive change together.