Will Girl Scouts USA Make the Right Choice?

By Rainforest Action Network
Girl Scouts Rhiannon & Madi's plea for a meeting with Girl Scouts USA CEO continues to be ignored
Girl Scouts Rhiannon & Madi's plea for a meeting with Girl Scouts USA CEO continues to be ignored

Will Girl Scouts USA CEO Kathy Cloninger make the right choice for future generations of Girl Scouts or not?

Last week a reporter from Madi & Rhiannon’s hometown published a powerful piece in their local paper: “Child Labor, orangutans and Thin Mints: Two renegade Girl Scouts raise questions about palm oil used in popular cookies.” The article sheds light on Girl Scouts USA’s latest position on the controversy surrounding the use of palm oil in its Girl Scout cookies. The quotes from spokeswoman Michelle Tomkins are particularly helpful to us in understanding where  Girl Scouts USA stands organizationally, because even though we’ve now sent CEO Kathy Cloninger two letters, we have yet to receive a response.

The spokeswoman for Girl Scouts USA says that the organization has “little say if not no say in the recipes used by the bakers.” But clearly if the Girl Scouts organization puts their logo on a box of cookies that it expects millions of young girls across the country to peddle on its behalf, the organization has to approve of the recipe, right?

Via its spokeswoman, Girl Scouts USA says its hands are tied. Tomkins says that in 2006, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring unhealthy trans fats to be listed on the Nutrition Facts labels on manufactured food products, the two Girl Scout cookie bakers had to rid the cookies of trans fats. Palm oil is the alternative to trans fats that the bakers came up with. So Tomkins’ claim is that what goes in Girl Scout cookies is really up to the bakers and that the “two bakers the organization uses have no plans to change the recipe.” But, “that could change,” Tompkins told AnnArbor.com.

Girl Scout Cookie Box. Photo: Mike The Sussman

Yes, it could change. But it won’t until Girl Scouts USA demands it.

Unless the two bakers are forced by another U.S. Food and Drug Administration law to change their recipe, they will continue palm oil business as usual in favor of efficiency and profit, as palm oil is by far the cheapest vegetable oil. But if Girl Scouts USA, — which a) pays the bakers to make its cookies, b) approves the recipes, and c) is comfortable putting its logo on the cookie boxes — requests that its bakers change Girl Scout cookie recipes, then by all means they would have to or else lose the business of GSUSA!

If the two bakers changed their cookie recipes to void the cookies of trans fats upon the request of the FDA, they will change the cookie recipes to void the cookies of rainforest destruction and orangutan extinction. But only if GSUSA demands it.

Girl Scouts USA needs a palm oil policy to guide its cookie business. Right now the organization cannot promise its girls that the cookies they work so hard to sell don’t contain rainforest destruction.

“Kids should not have to choose between selling cookies and getting to camp or choosing rainforest deforestation and orangutan extinction. There are links to slave labor as well,” Madison Vorva said. “There should be no human rights abuses occurring in Girl Scout cookies either.”

Please take action right now to pump up the volume on Madi & Rhiannon’s message to Girl Scouts USA.

Step 1 – Twitter :

#Rainforest destruction doesn’t belong in your cookies @GirlScouts USA. Your girls deserve better. http://chn.ge/g5YKTZ via @RAN RT!

Step 2 – Facebook:

“Like” the Girl Scouts of the USA on Facebook, and then copy/paste this message onto their wall: I am disappointed to see rainforest destroying palm oil still in Girl Scout cookies. I’d like to see Girl Scout cookies be rainforest safe by your100th anniversary!