Two 16 year-old Girl Scouts from Michigan have taken it upon themselves to try to convince their organization to stop using palm oil, a product that has been blamed for widespread rainforest destruction, in their famous cookies. The pair, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, have created a petition on Change.org that is just a few hundred votes away from their 50,000 signature goal. The two first started their crusade five years ago and last year convinced the CEO of the Girl Scouts to institute the first ever palm oil policy, but Madison and Rhiannon say the policy isn’t enough and they want the ingredient completely eliminated from the cookie recipes.
“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.’” Palm oil is extracted from palm oil trees that are grow on plantations in tropical climates and palm oil plantations have been blamed for deforestation that leads to habitat loss for endangered species like the orangutan and an increase in carbon dioxide emissions.
Last year the pair gathered enough signatures in another Change.org petition to convince the Girl Scouts CEO that they should start being concerned about palm oil. In response the CEO is now including a green palm logo on all boxes of Girl Scout Cookies that symbolizes the organization’s commitment to reducing the impacts of palm oil production. The organization is also buying Green Palm certificates to offset the ingredient’s use. The pair are hoping they gather enough signatures this year to convince the organization that buying certificates isn’t enough, palm oil should be eliminated from Girl Scout cookies once and for all.