- Kathy CloningerCEO, Girl Scouts USA
Make Girl Scout Cookies Rainforest-Safe
Two courageous Girl Scouts, Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, are asking for your help in their campaign to get rainforest-destroying palm oil out of Girl Scout cookies.
Five years ago, Madi and Rhiannon were completing research for their Girl Scout Bronze Awards when they discovered a cold hard fact about the much-sought-after commodity they’d been selling each year: Girl Scout cookies — including all but one of the 17 different brands — are packed with palm oil, an ingredient that causes clearcutting of irreplaceable rainforests and threatens the survival of humankind’s closest relative, orangutans. The two sixth graders were shocked.
They wrote to Girl Scouts USA about their concerns, but got nowhere. They've taken their campaign public and enlisted the help of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for Biological Diversity, Cultural Survival, Orangutan Foundation International, and RAN, but top brass at Girl Scouts USA remain unmoved.
Stand with these two courageous young activists in their battle to cut the ties that bind Girl Scouts to the mortal threats facing orangutans and the destruction of irreplaceable rainforests by signing this letter to Girl Scouts USA CEO Kathy Cloninger today!
- CEO, Girl Scouts USA
I understand that next year your organization, Girl Scouts USA, will be celebrating 100 years of supporting girls to become tomorrow’s leaders. I can’t think of a more auspicious way to celebrate this important anniversary than to announce that Girl Scouts has finally decided to align its values with Girl Scout branded cookies and break the link with controversial palm oil.
I am writing to express concern about the disturbing connections between Girl Scout cookies and Cargill-supplied palm oil, which is implicated in orangutan extinction, deforestation, climate change, and human rights violations including the use of slave labor.
I support the inspiring work of Madison, Rhiannon and many other girls across the country working to get your organization to develop a palm oil policy designed to break the link between the Girl Scout cookies and rainforest destruction.
I find it alarming that after Madi and Rhiannon finally had a meeting with GSUSA representative Barry Horowitz in 2008, after years of follow-up and repeated requests from the two Girl Scouts, GSUSA has continued to ignore them and this pressing issue.
As one of the most respected organizations developing girls to become tomorrow’s leaders, it is important that you align your organization’s values with the Girl Scout cookies it markets, particularly considering the following:
• Tropical rainforest destruction is responsible for 15% of current global greenhouse emissions; Indonesia is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world after China and the USA. Eighty five percent of Indonesia’s emissions are from rainforest and peatland destruction.
• The leading cause of tropical deforestation and peatland destruction in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands is palm oil plantation expansion.
• Palm oil is a key ingredient in every single Girl Scout cookie recipe, save one.
• The US Department of Labor recently added palm oil cultivated in Indonesia to the global list of commodities linked to slave labor and/or child labor.
• Although Girl Scout cookie bakers have RSPO membership, RSPO membership does not provide any assurance that palm oil supplied by member companies is sustainable. The only enforced requirement of RSPO membership is annual membership fee payment. Member companies have been documented clearing forest, peatland and critical wildlife habitat while ignoring human rights – all of which are prohibited in the RSPO principles and criteria. In essence RSPO membership does not ensure that deforestation, orangutan extinction, and climate change are not found in Girl Scout cookies.
Madison and Rhiannon are two inspirational girls who have spent years working hard to live up to the Girl Scout mission statement which says “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” Madison and Rhiannon’s outrage at the senseless killing of orangutans and the clear-cutting of their forest habitat led them to take a stand and declare that Girl Scouts and their cookies deserve better.
Girl Scouts USA should lead through example by showing that orangutan extinction and climate change have no place in their cookies or any other consumer product. Please protect rainforests, communities, and the climate by eliminating egregious palm oil from your Girl Scout cookie ingredients.
We hope you will meet with Rainforest Action Network, Madi and Rhiannon as soon as possible to discuss further your plans to address this issue.
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