The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is a cotton production assessment system established by U.S. cotton producers and industry organizations to provide a mechanism by which U.S. cotton producers can assess and verify their current production practices and measure their progress toward long-term sustainability goals. The Trust Protocol will be managed and implemented by a single member LLC governed by producers, brands/retailers, conservation and wildlife civil societies, ginners, merchants, cooperatives, textile manufacturers, cottonseed crushers/handlers, and cotton warehouses.
The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is being created to enable U.S. cotton producers and industry organizations to demonstrate their commitment to more sustainable cotton production and their progress toward long-term environmental improvement, thereby meeting the sustainability goals of downstream users of U.S. cotton.
The industry recognized that for U.S. cotton to be the supplier of choice for many global brands and retailers, as well as meet the needs of the consumers, it needed to verify existing production systems and practices and establish long-term environmental goals. This program is designed to meet those needs, while showcasing U.S. cotton’s story of continuous improvement. It also charts a path to meet the industry’s 2025 sustainability goals.
The Trust Protocol has adopted the United Nations’ definition of sustainability, as follows:
To meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
No. The goal is for the entire U.S. cotton production system to be more sustainable tomorrow than it is today. Enrollment allows the Trust Protocol to evaluate existing producer practices and ensure the U.S. industry moves toward more sustainable practices over time. Continuous improvement is the journey as sustainability is a process that will change as new technology and information become available.
Brands, retailers and users of cotton are establishing sustainability goals that are both short-term and long-term. There are 38 major Brands/Retailers who have pledged to achieve 100% sustainable cotton by 2025 or sooner. This number will grow.
Consumers are demanding more information about the products they buy. Wall Street makes investment decisions based on environmental and social governance audits from companies, and their supply chains must comply or be left behind. It is essential that U.S. cotton provide high-quality, trusted data to meet the supply chain’s needs.
Aggregated data from the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will provide downstream users of cotton with metrics for meeting their sustainable development goals. Data from the Data Tools utilized in the Trust Protocol will give producers the information that can increase their resource efficiency, lower their cost of production, support their economic sustainability and ensure downstream customers that U.S. cotton is sustainably produced.