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The Girl Scout Guide to Product Sustainability

Sustainability is woven into over a century of our Girl Scout legacy. Now, we’re considering sustainability at every step of a new product’s journey, from development to production to delivery.

Girl Scout products labelled with the sustainability leaf icon indicate that they have one or more sustainable attribute, for example the product may be made of recycled materials and U.S. produced. From using resources wisely to protecting the environment, the Girl Scout Movement continues looking ahead to a sustainable future for the next generation of girls.

What started with our founder Juliette Gordon Low’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the empowerment of girls has grown to generations of Girl Scouts taking action to make the world a better place.

Our new sustainability initiatives consider the entire lifecycle of a Girl Scout Shop product, from design to manufacturing to delivery and beyond. We’re taking continual steps to deepen our commitment. With every step of our sustainability journey, we’re moving toward a brighter future.

What does sustainability mean to us?

Check out this list of what we look for while considering sustainability:

Sustainability is woven into over a century of our Girl Scout legacy. Now, we’re considering sustainability at every step of a new product’s journey, from development to production to delivery.

Girl Scout Shop products labelled with the sustainability leaf icon indicate that they have one or more sustainable attribute, for example the product may be made of recycled materials and U.S. produced. From using resources wisely to protecting the environment, the Girl Scout Movement continues looking ahead to a sustainable future for the next generation of girls.

What started with our founder Juliette Gordon Low’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the empowerment of girls has grown to generations of Girl Scouts taking action to make the world a better place.

Our new sustainability initiatives consider the entire lifecycle of a Girl Scout Shop product, from design to manufacturing to delivery and beyond. We’re taking continual steps to deepen our commitment. With every step of our sustainability journey, we’re moving toward a brighter future.
Products made wholly or in part from recycled material have a lower impact on the environment. This is because they produce less trash, waste water and pollution — and they have less of an impact on ecosystems for plants, animals and people! Some manufacturers are re-processing items like fabric scraps and plastic bottles, transforming them into entirely new, high-quality products and apparel. This process contributes less pollution and uses less non-renewable resources than conventional products made from 100% new materials. When you choose clothes and accessories made of recycled material, you’re choosing style and sustainability.
Waste-reducing products are mindfully designed to fit both our everyday needs and our commitment to the environment. Made to replace conventional single-use products, particularly plastics, these reusable items make it easier to avoid polluting. Single-use plastics are disposable and made mostly from fossil fuel-based chemicals (petrochemicals), contributing a significant amount of pollution to waterways and other ecosystems. These waste-reducing products may provide alternatives and can help replace single-use plastics.
Think of upcycling as recycling with a creative twist. While recycling breaks items down into totally new raw material, upcycling keeps elements of the material’s original state. Upcycling repurposes existing materials that would have otherwise been thrown out, like fabric scraps or wood, transforming it into a higher quality item ready for new use. This reduces waste by giving disposable products further use. Upcycling also helps us imagine new ways to use old items and think like an environmental advocate. This product was either upcycled, includes materials that were upcycled, or was designed to use with upcycled household materials.
These products were made or assembled in the United States of America. We recognize the important benefits of domestic production, from employing U.S. workers to promoting economic growth here in the United States. From an environmental perspective, U.S. produced goods have a shorter journey to our distribution center and, from there, to your home — which means a smaller carbon footprint. When possible, Girl Scouts of the USA seeks to purchase and produce goods in the United States without compromising other product qualities such as price, environmental impact, and supporting women-owned businesses.
Made with people and our planet in mind, bluesign® approved products are manufactured in certified factories. This verifies that harmful chemicals are absent from every step of the product’s supply chain, from the factory workers making the product to those enjoying it at home. In addition to excluding harmful chemicals from the supply chain, the bluesign® system also helps factories to reduce their air and water pollution as well as water and energy consumption.
Biodegradable products are made of materials that have the potential to decompose at a quicker rate than conventional materials. Similarly, biobased products are made, wholly or in part, of plant-based material. Whether single-use or reusable, these products were created with both their function and their disposal in mind. Because there is a range of materials used to make biodegradable products, appropriate disposal varies from item to item. Please see individual product packaging for recommended disposal methods.
Fair trade products are made in partnership with workers and farmers worldwide, making a positive impact both on global communities and on our planet. Several fair trade certifications exist to ensure that companies meet standards to empower and protect workers across the globe. Products marked as fair trade by Girl Scouts of the USA have been vetted and verified by one of these certifications, and many also prioritize environmental conservation efforts.
When you see FSC® or PEFC™, that indicates that the wood or paper products you’re using have met a globally recognized standard of sustainability. From your notebook to your pencil, many everyday items are made of wood sourced from forests. The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) operates a range of certifications that prioritize social, environmental, and economic benefits for local communities, all while focusing on responsible forest management. Similarly, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™) is dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through certifications.
Look good, do good, and feel good in organic cotton clothing! Growing organic cotton requires fewer CO2 emissions and less water than conventional cotton. Conventional (non-organic) cotton often uses genetically modified seeds, as well as large quantities of herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown on farms using practices with lower environmental impacts. By not using synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, organic cotton farmers prevent contamination of local water supplies and reduce people’s exposure to harmful chemicals. Organic cotton farmers also invest time and resources in maintaining healthy soil and energy conservation.