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Truth of the Matter

Truth of the Matter

Get quick answers to some of the questions most often asked at Dakota Horizons. The questions under the headings are a representative sample of the questions we receive. For a complete listing, visit Girl Scouts of the USA FAQs.

Girl Scout Cookies

Why is palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies?

Palm oil is an ingredient found in the majority of baked snacks sold in the United States and is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. Per GSUSA's licensed bakers, it is necessary to use palm oil in our cookies because of its unique ability to provide volume and texture in baked goods, usually without adding trans fats. Additionally, growing palm oil requires less land in comparison to other vegetable oils and supports the livelihoods of more than 4 million farmers globally. Although we continue to explore alternatives, currently, there are no viable or readily available alternatives for use in the production of Girl Scout Cookies.

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 and Girl Scout Cookie development. At Girl Scouts, we have an opportunity to use our strong voice to bring about positive change on this important issue, and our bakers have made the following commitments:

  • GSUSA and our licensed bakers are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a non-profit organization of growers, buyers, manufacturers, conservationists, and other interested parties striving to develop and follow best practices to ensure an ethical supply chain.

  • Our licensed bakers are committed to Sustainable Palm Oil in Girl Scout Cookies. Girl Scout Cookies baked by both ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers use Mass Balance RSPO certified palm oil and include the RSPO Mass Balance logo on their packaging (i.e., RSPO “Mixed” certification label)

  • Both bakers’ future goal is to achieve 100% RSPO-segregated certified palm oil products for all Girl Scout Cookies they produce. They continue to work with their suppliers to explore strategies and timelines to achieve this goal.

  • Thanks to the encouragement of and partnership with Girl Scout members, GSUSA and our bakers have realized the power of the Girl Scout brand to make a positive difference in the move towards sustainably produced and ethically sourced palm oil.

Are Girl Scout Cookies sustainable?

Sustainability refers to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors that an organization addresses to provide value not only to consumers but also to the world. GSUSA is also working with its bakers toward sustainable and ethical sourcing of Girl Scout Cookie ingredients, including sustainably sourced palm oil. GSUSA is also working with its bakers to improve the environmental footprint of its cookie packaging, as we recognize the need to reduce emissions and the number of materials used as much as possible. Furthermore, Girl Scouts can choose to use their troop cookie earnings on environmental stewardship and conservation projects. 

Do Girl Scout Cookies contain GMOs?

GSUSA is committed to providing cookie customers with the highest-quality products available. We understand that customers have questions about the foods they choose to eat, and GSUSA works alongside its trusted bakers to develop recipes using ingredients that will produce the best-tasting and highest-quality cookies.

Currently, Girl Scout Cookies contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Girl Scouts recognizes that many people have concerns about GMO ingredients, and we monitor member and consumer opinion on this matter while simultaneously addressing industry trends; scientific trends; and, of course, consumer preference.

It is important to note that there is worldwide scientific support for the safety of currently commercialized ingredients derived from GMO agricultural crops. The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. It is also important to note that in the future, GMO ingredients may offer new, cost-effective alternatives to feeding the world’s growing population.

Where does the money from my purchase of Girl Scout Cookies go?

When you buy delicious Girl Scout Cookies, you’re helping power new, unique, and amazing experiences for Girl Scouts that broaden their worlds, teach them essential life skills, and prepare them for a lifetime of leadership.

The net proceeds from Girl Scout Cookie sales stay local with the originating council and troop to fund activities for girls year-round as well as impactful girl-led community projects. Each council determines its own revenue structure depending on how much it costs the council to buy cookies, the local retail price to sell cookies, and the amount of revenue shared with participating troops.

Cookie program revenue is a critical source of funding for Girl Scout councils to deliver essential programming to troops and is often what makes it possible to reach girls in underserved areas and maintain camps and properties.

Girl Scouts pool their money as a troop and use it to fuel their Girl Scout adventures throughout the year, including in STEM, outdoor experiences, travel, and community projects. Girl Scouts may not earn proceeds as individuals. However, Girl Scout councils offer a wide variety of recognition items, program and store-related credits, and travel experiences that girls are eligible to earn individually based on their sales. All troop proceeds and group rewards earned through participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program must be used to enhance all girls in the group’s Girl Scout experience.

Does any part of Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue support organizations other than Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons?

After paying the bakers, the net proceeds from Girl Scout Cookie sales are retained by the originating council and troop to power amazing experiences for girls and impactful girl-led community projects. Girl Scout troops set goals for how to spend their proceeds on program-related activities, such as paying their own way to a community event or museum. Girl Scout troops may also choose to use proceeds to purchase materials for a project to benefit the community.

Girl Scout Cookies and cookie-inspired flavors can be found in some popular food items. Can any business use girl Scout Cookies and cookie-inspired flavors in its products?

A restaurant or small business may use Girl Scout Cookies in its desserts, provided it buys the Girl Scout Cookies from a Girl Scout, but it cannot use the Girl Scout name or trademarks to brand and market the products. Prohibited uses are “Thin Mint Shake,” “Girl Scouts Cupcake,” “Thin Mint Cake,” and similar constructions. GSUSA has contractual relationships with select companies to include Girl Scout Cookies and cookie-inspired flavors in their products and to use the Girl Scout name and trademarks in conjunction with those products. These rights are granted under national licensing agreements, and GSUSA is the only entity that may enter into such an agreement. For more on rules and regulations pertaining to the Girl Scout brand, or to inquire about becoming a licensee, email permissions@girlscouts.org .

 

Social Issues

What is Girl Scouts of the USA's position regarding human sexuality, birth control, and abortion?

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.

Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature. Consistent with that belief, GSUSA directs councils, including volunteer leaders, to get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive.

Does GSUSA have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?

No, Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.

Did GSUSA distribute a Planned Parenthood brochure at a United Nations event?

No, we did not. In 2010, GSUSA took part in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Our participation in that conference was the subject of numerous Internet stories and blogs that were factually inaccurate and troubling. Girl Scouts had no knowledge of the brochure in question and played no role in distributing it.

What is Girl Scouts' position on serving transgender youth?

Girl Scouts is proud to be the premiere leadership organization for girls in the country. Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority. That said, if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.

What is GUSUSA's relationship with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts?

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) comprises 145 member organizations that promote mutual understanding and cross-cultural opportunities for girls around the world. Girl Scouts of the USA is one of the 145 member organizations.

Each member organization creates its own programs and pursues advocacy efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in its individual country. GSUSA does not always take the same positions or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS. GSUSA's relationship with WAGGGS is akin to the United States' relationship with the United Nations (UN). The United States may not agree with every position the UN takes, but values having a seat at the table.