Teens petition Girl Scouts to ditch rainforest-destroying palm oil in cookies

Feb 2nd, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Story

40,000 join two Girl Scouts’ new campaign on Change.org asking organization to quit unsustainable palm oil for 100th anniversary.

The Girl Scouts' Rainforest Hero badge

ANN ARBOR, MI—More than 40,000 people have joined two Girl Scouts’ campaign on Change.org calling for the organization’s popular cookies to be made without palm oil.

The two Michigan 16-year-olds, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, want Girl Scouts USA to stop using unsustainable palm oil, the production of which reportedly causes deforestation, endangers species, and contributes to human rights abuses and climate change.

“We are asking Girl Scouts and consumers to show their support for socially responsible and environmentally friendly Girl Scout cookies by signing our petition to the new CEO urging them to make cookies truly rainforest-safe,” Vorva and Tomtishen said. “Girl Scouts USA has a responsibility to align their cookie ingredients with their mission ‘to make the world a better place.’”

The two girls first became concerned about palm oil five years ago after researching endangered orangutans for their Girl Scouts Bronze Award. After unsuccessfully raising their concerns about palm oil to Girl Scouts leadership, they partnered with two environmental groups, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Rainforest Action Network, to build awareness around the issue.

More than 70,000 people signed the girls’ previous Change.org campaign last year urging Girl Scouts’ former CEO to stop using palm oil. In response to the campaign, Girl Scouts USA committed to its first-ever policy for palm oil, including buying Green Palm certificates to offset the ingredient’s use. With their new campaign, the girls have recruited more than 40,000 people in just one week to ask the Girl Scouts to completely eliminate palm oil from their cookies.

Madison and Rhiannon say the Girl Scout organization, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with a “Forever Green” theme, isn’t doing enough to honor its own mission.

“Instead of giving up, Madison and Rhiannon are using Change.org to amplify the voices of people who support their campaign,” said Sarah Parsons, senior organizer at Change.org. “It’s incredible to watch the dedication of these young women to creating a cookie that’s better for the planet.”

Madison and Rhiannon were recently nominated for a UN Forest Heroes award. Winners of this award will be announced on February 9.

Live signature totals from Rhiannon and Madison’s campaign:

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One Comment to “Teens petition Girl Scouts to ditch rainforest-destroying palm oil in cookies”

  1. Megan C says:

    As a former Girl Scout and an environmentalist, I support this 100%! :)

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