Young Girl Scout Activists Hope to Save Rain Forests by Removing Palm Oil From Cookies
A key ingredient in Girl Scout cookies is palm oil, the production of which is responsible for widespread rain forest destruction. Much of the palm oil supplied for Girl Scout cookies is produced by food giant Cargill in Indonesia.
Cargill has been accused by critics of having a disregard for environmental issues and human rights in its palm oil manufacturing processes. However, beyond Cargill-specific critiques, palm oil in general is responsible for enormous environmental and human rights abuses, including the following:
• Palm oil plantation expansion is the leading cause of rain forest destruction in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and the Solomon Islands.
• Palm oil is on the US Department of Labor list of global commodities linked to slave or child labor.
• Rain forest and peatland destruction is responsible for 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, with Indonesia being the third largest emitter after China and the United States.
• Palm oil is a key ingredient in every type of Girl Scout cookie, except for one.
In response to the environmental and human rights concerns stemming from the Girl Scouts’ usage of palm oil, two young Girl Scout activists have spent years trying to convince their organization to eliminate palm oil from Girl Scout cookies. The two activists, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, have been petitioning the Girl Scouts to take action on this important issue. To date, no decision has been made to remove palm oil from Girl Scout cookies.