Milk Formula Sales and GHG Emissions:  GreenFeeding Report of 10 Countries

14.Dec.2018, New Delhi:

In the growing climate change debate, the environmental consequence of how most of the infants and children are fed  is a missing link. Data shows that around two-thirds of infants are inappropriately fed processed baby food in early life.[1]According to a WHO report[2] , global sales of breastmilk substitutes in 2016 US$ 44.8 billion, is expected to rise to US$ 70.6 billion by 2019  and in Asia, with world’s second largest infant/child population, this is expected to rise very fast with a booming market.

The GreenFeeding report adds a new dimension to the current discourse as it shows the GHG emission due to milk formula sales. Recognizing the unprecedented rise in formula consumption across Asia Region and its contribution to the increasing GHG Emission, International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI)first time developed a method to estimate GHG Emission due to milk formula. The GreenFeeding reports come from 10 Asian Countries i.e.China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. According to the estimates, the total GHG Emissions due to BMS sales in the year 2016 in these countries was 5.8 Million Tonnes CO2 eq. and its projected to rise to 7.15 Million Tonnes CO2 eq. by 2021. See Fig 1 in the attached file.

Industrially manufactured Breastmilk Substitutes are made from dairy and other agricultural products, which generate greenhouse gases (GHG) including methane and nitrous oxide during production, transport, and sales. The estimate of GHG does not include preparation of feeds.  In addition consumption use of milk, formula generates a sizable volume of waste, which needs disposal.

According to Lancet 2016Breastfeeding contributes to environmental sustainability, as breastmilk is a renewable food and delivered without pollution, unnecessary packaging or waste. In comparison, milk formula needs the energy to manufacture material for packaging, fuel for transport and resources for daily preparation and use. [3]Practicingbreastfeeding protects both the environment by reducing GHG Emissions caused due to milk formula sales, and saves women and children and provides additional short and long-term health benefits and contributes to improving child’s IQ by about 3 points with potential economic gains for the society.

When we know reducing the milk formula consumption can have a significant impact on climate and human health, GreenFeeding reports recommend strengthening related policies and programmes in the respective countries. 

Contact: Dr. J P Dadhich, Director Technical, BPNI, jpdadhich@bpni.org9873926751; Dr. Arun Gupta, Central Coordinator, BPNI , arun.ibfan@gmail.com9899676306; Ms. Nupur Bidla, Director, Communication & Campaigns, BPNI, nupur@bpni.org9958163610

Notes for the Editors:

There are 10  individual country reports and one combined file of all 10. which are available at:



[3] Why invest, and what it will take to improve breastfeeding practices?, Vol 387 January 30, 2016, 491-504–

Nupur Bidla | Director-Communication & Campaigns  IBFAN Asia/BPNI
BP-33, Pitampura | Delhi- 110034
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Landline: +91-11-27343608+91-11-42683059 | Mobile: 9958163610 | Telefax:+91-11-27343606

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