About the Trust Protocol

In a period of ever greater supply chain scrutiny and a growing demand for transparency and traceability, The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol™ sets a new standard for more sustainably grown cotton. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to sustainable cotton production and drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics.

The Trust Protocol is aligned with existing sustainability programs including the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to sustainable cotton production and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics – land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency. The Trust Protocol is designed from the ground up to address the unique regulatory and larger farm growing environment of the United States.

The U.S. cotton industry is unique with mass-scale precision irrigation and fertilization based on in-field measurements, utilizing big data and automation to better increase efficiency and focusing on methods to improve soil health. The Trust Protocol gives evidence to the sustainability credentials that are proven via Field to Market, measured via the Field Calculator and verified with Control Union Certifications.

How the Trust Protocol Works​

Through a combination of a unique credit accounting system and the Permanent Bale Identification (PBI) system, the Trust Protocol helps ensure the commitments behind our cotton. Each of the Trust Protocol credits are backed by real sustainability data and third-party verified.

Measures and Verifies Sustainability Commitments

The Trust Protocol enables brands and retailers to better track the cotton entering their supply chain and to further quantify and report on their individual sustainability goals and objectives.

Continuous Improvement in the Fields

The 16,000 cotton farms in the United States have been committed to continuous improvement for decades. Over the past 35 years, U.S. cotton production has used 79% less water per bale and 54% less energy. We have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, and land use per bale by 49%. We need to continue to innovate and introduce new practices that will serve to further position U.S. cotton as one of the most sustainable cotton growing nation in the world.

Member Cost Structure

In joining the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol®, members can prove, measure and verify that the cotton fiber element of their supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental and social risk. The Trust Protocol will require a membership fee to be paid by participating brands and retailers starting summer 2021.