Two Girl Scouts have earned their merit badge in effecting social change.
Madison Vorva, 16, and Rhiannon Tomtishen, 15, of Michigan started a campaign five years ago urging the Girl Scouts of America to stop using palm oil in its cookies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Now, the company will tell bakers to use as little of the oil as possible, purchase GreenPalm certificates and will try to switch to sustainable oil by 2015.
A five-year campaign by two Michigan girls to make Girl Scout cookies more environmentally friendly has prompted the youth organization to curb the use of palm oil in its iconic baked goods.
Girl Scouts of the USA isn't eliminating the ingredient, but it says that beginning with the 2012-13 cookie season, each box will include a GreenPalm logo as a symbol of Girl Scouts' commitment to address concerns about the deforestation of sensitive lands caused by production of palm oil.
Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, the two Girl Scouts that have been leading the effort to make Girl Scout cookies deforestation free, issued the following statement in reaction to Girl Scouts USA announcement that it will purchase Green Palm certificates and work towards the use of RSPO-certified palm oil by 2015, as well as work to reduce the amount of palm oil used in its cookies. They are available for interviews.
Security forces used by a palm oil supplier to Cargill are using violence and intimidation against villagers in Indonesia, the Rainforest Action Network claims.
The Rainforest Action Network accused palm oil supplier Wilmar of using armed violence against villagers in Sumatra. Heavy machinery, the advocacy group adds, is used by Wilmar to destroy area homes as well.
Lindsey Allen, forest program director at the group, said agricultural trading giant Cargill needs to adopt "crucial" safeguards on its supply chains.
Agribusiness giant Cargill has announced plans to offer only sustainably-certified palm oil by 2015 for certain countries, including the U.S., and by 2020 worldwide. On the surface, that sounds like a positive step forward, but on closer look, it seems like just another empty PR move.
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Cargill announced new commitments covering palm oil products that it supplies to its customers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, indicating that they should be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and/or originate from smallholder growers by 2015. This goal excludes palm kernel oil products. The company will also extend its commitment to cover 100% of its palm oil products and all customers worldwide by 2020.
IOI Corporation, one of Malaysia's leading producers of palm oil, has failed to comply with the terms set by the RSPO Grievance Panel last month, says an international coalition of NGOs that has filed several formal grievances against IOI Corporation, an executive board member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
For Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, it all began with orangutans. Four years ago-inspired by the work of primate researcher Jane Goodall-the two friends from Ann Arbor, Mich., collaborated on a research report on the endangered primates to help qualify for their Girl Scout Bronze award, one of the highest prizes offered by the 3.2 million-member organization. Vorva and Tomtishen have both been scouts since they were five years old, and they take their roles and responsibilities seriously.