2 Scouts Fight for Deforestation-Free Cookies

Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen have been honored by the United Nations with a North American Heroes award. It's given to activists who protect forests. The two girl scouts discovered some orangutan's habitat are being cleared to make palm oil, which is an ingredient in the cookies.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business features a food that somebody in America will surely have for breakfast this morning: Girl Scout cookies. It is the cookie season, but that annual ritual became a little dismaying for Girl Scout named Madison Vorva.

MADISON VORVA: We discovered that the orangutan habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia, which is the rain forest, is being cleared of plant palm oil plantations, and that palm oil is an ingredient in Girl Scout cookies.

INSKEEP: Madison and her best friend Rhiannon Tomtishen have spent years fighting for what they call deforestation-free cookies. Last week, they were honored by the United Nations with a North American Forest Heroes award, which is given to activists who protect forests.

VORVA: We were so shocked to discover that an organization like the Girl Scouts, who preach environmental sustainability, were contributing to these environmental issues with their cookies. So we set out to enlist the support of other Girl Scouts and Girl Scout cookie consumers in order to convince our own organization to switch to a more sustainable oil.

INSKEEP: Change does not come quickly. Despite the hard work of these activist scouts, and despite the high-profile award, Girl Scout cookies still use palm oil, although, so far, the national organization Girl Scouts USA has pledged to use only certified sustainable palm oil by the year 2015.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne.

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