NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) will soon be using its famous Girl Scout cookie boxes to raise awareness about the global need to develop stronger sustainability practices within the palm oil industry. Beginning with the 2012-13 cookie season, each cookie box will include a GreenPalm logo as a symbol of Girl Scouts' commitment to address concerns about the deforestation of sensitive lands currently caused by the production of palm oil. This is just one of several steps Girl Scouts is taking to address this issue:
- Effective immediately, GSUSA will purchase GreenPalm certificates to support the sustainable production of palm oil. The certificates offer a premium price to palm oil producers who are operating within the guidelines for social and environmental responsibility set by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil.
- GSUSA has committed to working with our licensed bakers in plans to join other industry leaders in making a pledge to move to a segregated, certified sustainable palm oil source by 2015, based on market availability.
- GSUSA will work to build a coalition of respected environmental organizations that support sustainable palm oil and to carry that message to industry leaders across the globe.
- GSUSA will become an affiliate member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization of growers, buyers, manufacturers, conservationists and interested parties who are striving to develop and follow best practices to ensure sustainability.
- And GSUSA has directed its bakers to use as little palm oil as possible, and only in recipes where there is no alternative. GSUSA estimates that of all the palm oil used globally, Girl Scout cookies account for less than one-one-hundredth of one percent (.001%).
"Girl Scouts' palm oil use is very small, but our voice is big," says Amanda Hamaker, GSUSA's Manager of Product Sales. "Palm oil is an important product to the world's food supply, so we believe promoting sustainable manufacturing principles is the most responsible approach for Girl Scouts."
This action follows a five-year campaign by two teenage Girl Scouts from Michigan to make Girl Scout cookies rainforest-safe. The girls, Madison Vorva, 16, and Rhiannon Tomtishen, 15, learned as part of their Girl Scout Bronze award project that the habitat of the orangutan is threatened by deforestation caused by palm oil production.
"Madison and Rhiannon have done exactly what Girl Scouts teaches girls: find a cause you care about, connect with others, and take action to change the world," says Hamaker. "They are shining examples of leadership in persuading a 99-year-old American icon to take on a serious global issue."
Exclusively endorsed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the GreenPalm program is based on the principle that the best way to encourage people to work in a sustainable and responsible way is to reward them for doing so. Also designed to overcome the problem that palm oil from different producers is intermingled at every stage of the production process, it works as follows: Palm oil and palm kernel oil producers that have been independently audited and found to be operating within the RSPO's strict criteria for environmental and social sustainability are invited to register a quantity of their output with the GreenPalm program. They are awarded one GreenPalm certificate for each metric ton of palm oil or palm kernel oil that has been sustainably produced. Organizations such as GSUSA, and its bakers or retailers of products containing palm oil or palm kernel oil, can then bid for and buy those certificates on line. The payment is made directly to the sustainable producer, who earns a premium for acting responsibly. Better still, for each certificate sold, a $1 donation goes to support the work of the RSPO. The palm oil or palm kernel oil itself is sold, processed and purchased in the usual way. For more information, visit www.greenpalm.org.
About Girl Scouts
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect, or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U or visit www.girlscouts.org.
SOURCE Girl Scouts of the USA