Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Girl Scouts of America
Girl Scout Cookie season has a tendency to reek havoc on our diets but the palm oil used to make our beloved Samoas and Thin Mints also has hazardous effects on the rainforest and its primate inhabitants.
Five years ago, Michigan Girl Scouts Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva began a campaign to remove palm oil from the cookie recipes to preserve the habitats of endangered orangutans who have been suffering due to clear cutting practices used to produce the oil. Now it looks like their hard work is paying off.
Accordintg to MSNBC, ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers, the company in charge of Girl Scout cookie production, have pledged to use as little palm oil as possible and have agreed to begin sourcing it from vendors using sustainable practices. Each box of Girl Scout cookies will come with a GreenPalm logo advertising the organization's commitment to social and environmental responsibility. The changes should take effect by the 2012-2013 cookie-selling season.
As to why palm oil cannot be completely eliminated from the recipe, a Girl Scouts production manager says that it's the only oil that is a "sturdy" alternative to transfats. While we're more than pleased that the transfats have been eliminated from our beloved Girl Scout Cookies, we'll be much happier when a greener palm oil substitute is found.
For more information about Tomtishen's and Vorva's campaign, check out the adorably named Project ORANGS (A.K.A.: Orangutans Really Appreciate And Need Girl Scouts).