Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, 15-year-old scouts from Ann Arbor, Mich., started work on the Girl Scout bronze award four years ago. They focused their project on orangutans in Southeast Asia and learned that the deforestation of the area's rain forests was threatening the orangutans' habitat and survival.
The girls' project took a turn, and they called on the Girl Scouts to change their baking practices and remove palm oil from the cookies.
Four years later, Rhiannon and Madison are now seeing some progress.
Earlier this month, Kellogg, which owns one of the bakeries that makes Girl Scout cookies, has pledged to cover 100 percent of its palm oil usage through the purchase of Green Palm certificates. Green Palm certificates are given to those farmers who grow and harvest palm oil in a sustainable manner.
These farmers are part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The farmers sell these certificates to manufacturers and retailers. These companies can then claim to support sustainable palm oil production.
"The program has a promising future in promoting sustainable palm oil production," Amanda Hamaker, manager of product sales for the Girl Scouts, told AOL News.
While Rhiannon and Madison are happy that some change has been made, they and other environmental activists say it's only a start.
"We see it as a good step in the right direction," Rhiannon said. "But we don't see it as enough. We don't think it's resolved."
Rhiannon and Madison are calling on the Girl Scouts to completely eliminate palm oil from the cookies. Hamaker says that some palm oil is necessary to ensure the cookies' shelf life and taste. The Girl Scouts also point out the palm oil is a healthier alternative to trans fats.
Madison says the next step is to meet with both the Girl Scouts and the Rain Forest Action Network, an environmental group that uses market activism to further press the issue.
While the girls have been making some trouble for the Girl Scouts, the organization says it's proud of their ardor and hard work.
And what has started as a simple project for a pin on their vests has inspired a calling to environmental advocacy, the high school sophomores said.
"This is something I'm extremely passionate about, and it will always be incorporated in some way," Madison told AOL News.
Rhiannon feels the same. "We've been working on this for four years. I don't see us stopping anytime soon."