Anthesis Group, the sustainability activator, 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. Designed as a public sector alternative to traditional carbon offsetting, the initiative is being developed in response to the carbon offsetting issues faced by local authorities, such as using emission reduction activities outside of the region and the lack of well-defined, fit-for-purpose local off-setting options.
While the priority should remain on avoiding and reducing emissions, the ability to achieve Net Zero or carbon neutrality by 2030 will be very challenging because of the scale of technology and investment required. Insetting stimulates greater local investment in carbon-saving projects and the ability to quantify and report on the associated carbon impacts. As part of the initiative, Anthesis will work alongside local authorities and engage industry leaders in green investment and offsetting, emissions standards experts, NGOs, and academics. The project will result in an insetting guidance framework for local authorities in Q4 2021.
The concept was initiated following a series of Anthesis-facilitated Net Zero events and discussions with UK local authorities in 2020. Recognising the need for a new standard for insetting, the project was subsequently developed between Anthesis and the local authorities of Blackburn with Darwen, Brighton & Hove, Cheshire East, Horsham, Leicester, Leicestershire, Oxford, Richmond, Shropshire, Trafford, Wandsworth and West Sussex.
Anthesis’ Associate Director, Matt Rooney, and lead on the project said, “Local authorities are identifying the urgency of achieving Net Zero, and they realise that without innovative solutions to tackle remaining emissions, climate goals are at risk. This project will allow authorities to be forward-thinking and help advance more opportunities for low-carbon investment in their region. We are delighted with the support we have received so far. Collaboration and proactivity will help drive momentum and change during the decisive decade”.
“Cheshire East Council has committed to influencing carbon reduction across the Borough with the goal to become carbon neutral by 2025. We are keen to work with Anthesis to establish a methodology for local insetting to help us reach Net Zero whilst simultaneously stimulating investment for local climate action.” Dan Griffiths, Energy and Carbon Programme Manager, Cheshire East Borough 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
Cllr Andrew Western, Trafford Council Leader and the Greater Manchester Green Lead, said: “Trafford Council was one of the first Councils in the country to declare a climate emergency in 2018. Through our Carbon Neutral Action Plan, and corporate priorities, we are totally committed to the use of renewable energy sources to cut emissions and meet our target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.”
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.”
Anthesis has extensive experience in helping public bodies and local authorities across the UK to develop climate strategies. SCATTER is the Anthesis-designed free to use greenhouse gas reporting tool that enables local authorities to assess, report on and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced in their area without the need to commit significant resources to collect data.