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The Green Life: UPDATE: The Girl Scout Cookie Saga Continues

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September 28, 2011

UPDATE: The Girl Scout Cookie Saga Continues

Stack of cookies When those oh-so-tempting boxes of Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and Samoas hit the streets in 2012, they'll be a little bit greener, thanks to the work of two eco-activist Girl Scouts.

In March, we introduced Green Life readers to Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, two Girl Scouts on a mission to get palm oil out of their organization's famous cookies. After learning that the palm oil industry is responsible for rainforest destruction, Vorva and Tomtishen started an awareness campaign, targeting Kellogg's, Cargill, and Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA). 

In May, we reported that the girls had teamed up with Change.org and Rainforest Action Network for a social-media day of action when the controversy became heated — GSUSA removed critical posts from their Facebook wall, inciting charges of censorship. Now, it seems, GSUSA may be ready to listen to the activists.

In a blog post published today, GSUSA pledged to "move to a segregated, certified palm oil source by 2015, based on market availability." In the meantime, GSUSA will purchase GreenPalm certificates, which provide monetary incentives for sustainable palm-oil producers.

This is definitely good news for Vorva, Tomtishen, and the rainforest-dwelling orangutans they're trying to save, but the GreenPalm logo that'll adorn Girl Scout cookie boxes in 2012 doesn't mean the palm-oil problem has been completely solved.

At this point, palm oil from different sources is intermingled during the production process (hence GSUSA's quest for a "segregated" source) so a product emblazoned with the GreenPalm logo doesn't necessarily contain only sustainably produced palm oil. What it does mean, however, is that the company purchased offsets that reward farmers who are doing the right thing. Eventually, one would hope, it'll become more lucrative for all palm oil producers to embrace sustainability.

So consider this a move in the right direction — and one less reason to feel guilty if you devour that box of Girl Scout cookies.

--Della Watson

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