Breast-feeding can combat climate change
Combating the impact of climate change is one of the biggest issues facing the global development community. But one nutrition expert at UNICEF has suggested a major and sustainable contribution could come from an unexpected source: promoting breast-feeding.
Identified as a key component of actualizing the Sustainable Development Goals, not only has breast-feeding reduced mortality and morbidity of newborns and infants, it is also able to address climate change, because producing it does not contribute to the depletion of natural resources, David Clark, a nutrition specialist at UNICEF, told Devex.
Breast-feeding cuts out numerous processes that contribute to global warming, whether that is by bypassing the activities of the global dairy industry — and its large transport networks — or avoiding the industrial processes that produce infant formula or prepare it for use at home, such as heating water and sterilizing bottles.
However, the production of infant formula remains a powerful and growing industry across the world. It was estimated to be worth $41.5 billion in 2012 and is forecasted to double in size and reach $63.6 billion in 2017. It is also an industry backed by marketing and advertising campaigns aimed at convincing mothers to opt for formula over breast-feeding. “The manufacturers spend a lot of money in promoting this product to get women to stop breast-feeding and use these products,” said Clark.