We’ll Listen to Our Scouts… Eventually

Apparently Girl Scout cookies have palm oil in their recipes. Palm oil is not only unhealthy but can cause substantial environmental damage if not produced correctly. Well good news! They’re going to change the recipes.

Girl Scouts of the USA isn’t eliminating the ingredient, but it says that beginning with the 2012-13 cookie season, each box will include a GreenPalm logo as a symbol of Girl Scouts’ commitment to address concerns about the deforestation of sensitive lands caused by production of palm oil.

Oh. Okay. So… they’re sticking a pretty logo on their boxes to say they care very, very much? That’s it?

In its announcement Wednesday, the Girl Scouts said it has directed its bakers to use as little palm oil as possible, and only in recipes where there is no alternative. It wants its bakers to move to a segregated, certified sustainable palm oil source by 2015.

2015?! Right, well, I suppose that’s a good first step, but why would there be recipes where there is no alternative? I think the truth here is that any alternative would create a cookie that is different from what consumers expect, and that would impact sales. Nevermind that palm oil isn’t a particularly good oil.

"Girl Scouts’ palm oil use is very small, but our voice is big," Amanda Hamaker, Girl Scouts manager of product sales, said in a press release. "The world’s food supply is intricately tied to the use of palm oil, so we believe promoting sustainable manufacturing principles is the most responsible approach for Girl Scouts."

… in four years.

Okay, so, taken literally this is good news. But the huge delay in making any meaningful changes, and a refusal to simply stop using palm oil altogether, points to an organization that would rather make themselves look good rather than making a difference.

I guess the girls that are part of the Girl Scouts will have to keep trying to teach their organization about health and protecting the environment. Wait… shouldn’t it be the other way around?

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