Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Girl Scouts Pledge to Promote the Need for Sustainable Palm Oil Practices

Girl Scouts of the USA will soon be using its famous Girl Scout cookie boxes to raise awareness about the global need to develop stronger sustainability practices within the palm oil industry. Beginning with the 2012-13 cookie season, each cookie box will include a GreenPalm logo as a symbol of Girl Scouts’ commitment to address concerns about the deforestation of sensitive lands currently caused by the production of palm oil. This is just one of several steps Girl Scouts is taking to address this issue:

Effective immediately, GSUSA will purchase GreenPalm certificates to support the sustainable production of palm oil. The certificates offer a premium price to palm oil producers who are operating within the guidelines for social and environmental responsibility set by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil.

GSUSA has committed to working with our licensed bakers in plans to join other industry leaders in making a pledge to move to a segregated, certified sustainable palm oil source by 2015, based on market availability.

GSUSA will work to build a coalition of respected environmental organizations that support sustainable palm oil and to carry that message to industry leaders across the globe.

GSUSA will become an affiliate member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization of growers, buyers, manufacturers, conservationists and interested parties who are striving to develop and follow best practices to ensure sustainability.

And GSUSA has directed its bakers to use as little palm oil as possible, and only in recipes where there is no alternative. GSUSA estimates that of all the palm oil used globally, Girl Scout cookies account for less than one-one-hundredth of one percent (.001%).

“Girl Scouts’ palm oil use is very small, but our voice is big,” says Amanda Hamaker, GSUSA’s Manager of Product Sales. “Palm oil is an important product to the world’s food supply, so we believe promoting sustainable manufacturing principles is the most responsible approach for Girl Scouts.”

This action follows a five-year campaign by two teenage Girl Scouts from Michigan to make Girl Scout cookies rainforest-safe. The girls, Madison Vorva, 16, and Rhiannon Tomtishen, 15, learned as part of their Girl Scout Bronze award project that the habitat of the orangutan is threatened by deforestation caused by palm oil production.

“Madison and Rhiannon have done exactly what Girl Scouts teaches girls: find a cause you care about, connect with others, and take action to change the world,” says Hamaker. “They are shining examples of leadership in persuading a 99-year-old American icon to take on a serious global issue.”