Since 1917, Girl scouts have been selling their cookies and all 16 varieties of the cookies contain palm oil.
During a two-hour meeting last Tuesday morning at Girl Scouts of the USA headquarters in New York City, scout officials agreed to research palm oil to determine if they can get more of the ingredient from rain forests that haven’t been cleared for palm oil plantations, or if they can replace it with something else.
Palm oil has been used for centuries as cooking oil and it has integrated itself seamlessly into our lives. Common products like soap, detergent as well as processed food like chocolate and cereal include palm oil. In fact about 50% of the products we use contain palm oil [Source: Rainforest Action Network]. It’s low price and high saturation point make it attractive to food processing companies as well as oil companies. This increased demand for palm oil is leading to increased deforestation in already threatened areas like Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Palm oil has been a rainforest’s greatest enemy next to lumber companies, but there is hope for sustainable palm oil. The creation of the RSPO (Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil) as well as Brazil’s new plan for sustainable oil are all steps in the right direction. The only problem is to find a way to stop the damage in Indonesia and Malaysia.