Trust Protocol Appoints Averum for Third-Party Verification

  • The program has seen a 120% increase in grower enrollment since launch
  • Additional third-party verification partner specializes in environmental and social sustainability

MEMPHIS, TENN (August 22, 2023) – The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is pleased to appoint Averum to provide additional Third-Party verification support after seeing the highest number of grower enrollment to date. With a 120% increase in grower enrollment since launch three years ago, the program now requires a significantly higher number of independent verifications. 

Averum specializes in assisting agricultural companies to assess, manage, and communicate their environmental and social sustainability. Their auditors, located throughout the United States, have extensive experience in the food and agriculture industry. Averum’s auditing philosophy revolves around striking a balance that respects the time of agricultural professionals and is minimally invasive. They operate as a subsidiary of Pinion, a leading national food and agriculture business consulting and accounting firm. Averum will be working in conjunction with Control Union Certifications who have been assisting with the Trust Protocol’s third-party verifications since 2020.  

“Verifications play a critical role for the Trust Protocol as they bridge the gap between growers’ self-reporting and actual data, providing assurances to the brands and retailers on the sustainability of their raw cotton sourcing,” said Dr. Gary Adams, President of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “To ensure we are staying committed to our independent verification methodology as we see continued growth in grower participation, we have chosen to partner with Averum who specializes in environmental and social sustainability, both of which are fundamental components of the Trust Protocol.”

The Trust Protocol utilizes the square root model for proportional sampling to better represent grower members throughout the Cotton Belt. As participation increases, the methodology remains valid and statistically significant. Visit the Trust Protocol’s website to learn more about the program’s verification process. 

The Trust Protocol is also the only system that provides quantifiable, verifiable goals and measurement and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics:  land use; soil carbon; water management; soil loss; greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.

The program captures key environmental and social data under a farm-level, science-based system, and reports these annually on an aggregated basis.

To date, the Trust Protocol has welcomed more than 1,600 brand, retailer, mill and manufacturer members, including Levi Strauss & Co., Old Navy, GapAmerican Eagle Outfitters, Inc., and J.Crew. 

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The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is a voluntary, farm level science-based sustainability program that is setting a new standard for delivering value to all stakeholders across the entire supply chain from farms to finished products. It is the only system that provides quantifiable, verifiable goals and measurement and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics – land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.  It is also the world’s first sustainable cotton fiber program to offer article-level supply chain transparency to all members.   

The 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. 

Media Contacts:

Andrea Miles,, +1 (213) 300-1507

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Deepika Mishra

Sustainability Consultant

Deepika is a passionate, innovative, enthusiastic scientist with demonstrated ability to lead and collaborate worldwide in the development of novel life sciences technologies and techniques to enhance sustainable agriculture to have a true impact that addresses challenges of climate change. She works as a sustainability consultant for the National Cotton Council and Cotton Council International.