21/07/2020 – US cotton with more confidence

U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

The Trust Protocol brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurements to responsible cotton production.




Starting today, brands and retailers can join the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, a new system for responsibly grown cotton that will provide annual data for six areas of sustainability in line with the UN Sustainability Goals. This year-on-year data available for the first time will allow brands and retailers to better measure progress towards meeting sustainability commitments.

Ken Burton, Executive Director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol:

 “One of our goals in developing the Trust Protocol is to give brands and retailers greater confidence when including US cotton in their sourcing mix. Participating brands and retailers will now be able to demonstrate measurable progress in reducing their environmental footprint and in achieving sustainability targets.”

 The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies sustainability progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. By working with Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and Control Union Certifications North America, the Trust Protocol enables brands and retailers to better track the cotton entering their supply chain. Brands who become members of the Trust Protocol will have access to aggregate year-over-year data on water use, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, soil carbon and land use efficiency.

Liza Schillo, Senior Manager, Global Sustainability Integration, Levi Strauss & Co and Trust Protocol board member:

 “At Levi Strauss & Co the quality and sustainability of the cotton we use is critical to our business and important to our customers. We are deeply committed to sourcing sustainable cotton and reducing water usage, carbon emissions, and chemical usage. We are therefore in strong support of the introduction of standards – including the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol – that champion sustainably grown cotton and drive wider adoption over the long-term of sustainable cultivation practices.”

 The Trust Protocol is a complement to existing sustainability programs and is designed from the ground up to fit the unique cotton mass-growing environment of the United States.

 Last month the Trust Protocol was added to Textile Exchange’s list of 36 preferred fibres and materials that more than 170 participating brands and retailers can select from as part of Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index programme.

 35 Years of Continuous Improvements

 Over the past 35 years US cotton has made significant improvements in growing cotton responsibly.

 To continue the progress the Trust Protocol has ambitious national goals for 2025. By this date, the Trust Protocol aims to have more than half of all US cotton production included in the programme.

 Dr Kris Johnson, Deputy Director of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, North American Region, and U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol board member:

 “Achieving a transition towards agricultural sustainability requires broad public and private partnerships and a vital part of my work at The Nature Conservancy includes looking at ways to collaborate with key agricultural stakeholders. Informed by science-based targets, the Trust Protocol provides evidence of and encourages continuous improvements in US cotton production.”

About the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

 In a period of ever greater supply chain scrutiny and a growing demand for transparency, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will set a standard for more sustainably grown cotton. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the issue of responsibly-grown cotton production and drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics.

 The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies US cotton’s progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. Choosing Trust Protocol cotton will give brands and retailers the critical assurances they need that the cotton fiber element of their supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental and social risk. Brands and retailers will gain access to US cotton with sustainability credentials proven via Field to Market, measured via the Fieldprint Calculator and verified with Control Union Certifications.

 The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is overseen by a multi-stakeholder board of directors comprised of representatives from brands and retailers, civil society and independent sustainability experts as well as the cotton-growing industry, including growers, ginners, merchants, wholesalers and cooperatives, mills and cottonseed handlers.

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