Girl Scouts question palm oil in their cookies

Forest clearing in Sumatra for palm oil plantation. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

Two Girl Scouts are asking their organization why palm oil is an ingredient in pervasive and popular Girl Scout Cookies. Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, after their concerns about the environmental and social impact of palm oil have long been ignored by the heads of the Girl Scout organization, have joined with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to widen the campaign and have their voices heard.

“After learning of the disastrous effects that palm oil has on the people, rainforests, and orangutans of Indonesia, we were shocked to learn that palm oil is an ingredient in Girl Scout cookies,” Rhiannon Tomtishen says in a video produced for the campaign.

The two scouts and RAN are asking the Girl Scout Organization to stop using palm oil altogether.

Palm oil is the world’s most productive oil seed (far outstripping soy, which has been linked to deforestation in the Amazon), but is responsible for a significant percentage of deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia. For example, a study in Conservation Letters found that 55-59 percent of palm oil plantations in Malaysia built between 1990 and 2009 occurred on forested land. Such aggressive deforestation has contributed to an environmental crisis in the region: biodiversity loss in some of the world richest habitats, conflict with indigenous groups who depend on the forests for their livelihood, and substantial greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information on the scout’s campaign: Rainforest Heroes: Make Girl Scout Cookies Rainforest Safe.

Author: jlhance

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