The Green Feeding Tool calculates the carbon and water footprints of commercial milk formula (CMF) and helps illustrate the carbon offset that could be achieved by increasing breastfeeding and reducing commercial milk formula use.
Our global food system is increasingly recognised as contributing to environmental harm and climate change risk, especially meat and dairy. In addition, the booming sales of CMF worldwide contribute to this problem. Better enabling women to breastfeed their infants and young children will reduce CMF sales and help mitigate climate change.
The Tool will be valuable to various users, including policymakers, advocates, researchers, national accountants and statisticians, and individual mother/baby dyads or their breastfeeding supporters. Providing country-level estimates of GHG emissions from CMF will help bring the importance of breastfeeding and achieving global breastfeeding targets to the attention of environmentalists and climate change scientists.
Photo: Le Huu Tho | Alive & Thrive
Also importantly, the Tool will assist in broader engagement with influential stakeholders by breastfeeding advocates. This user-friendly and open-access tool will help measure a country’s scope for mitigating GHG emissions and excess water use and inform updating of national policies, programmes and investment plans.
By helping to mobilise action and motivate upscaling of investments, the Tool will help ensure more significant investments and resources are allocated towards enabling women and children to realise their human rights, including breastfeeding. It can help make a case for considering country claims for breastfeeding protection, promotion or support as a carbon offset for international climate change funds such as the UN Clean Development Mechanism.
Smith, J.P. A commentary on the carbon footprint of milk formula: harms to planetary health and policy implications. Int Breastfeed J 14, 49 (2019). doi.org/10.1186/s13006-019-0243-8
Dadhich J, Smith JP, Iellamo A, Suleiman A. Climate Change and Infant Nutrition: Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Milk Formula Sold in Selected Asia Pacific Countries. Journal of Human Lactation. 2021;37(2):314-322. doi:10.1177/0890334421994769
Smith JP, Borg B, Iellamo A, Nguyen TT and Mathisen R (2023) Innovative financing for a gender-equitable first-food system to mitigate greenhouse gas impacts of commercial milk formula: Investing in breastfeeding as a carbon offset. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. (In press).