The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol has achieved a 25% increase in enrolled planted cotton acres and a remarkable 120% surge in grower enrollment by 2023, highlighting its steadfast commitment to sustainability and garnering support from both growers and major brands.
Since its inception in 2020, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol has witnessed remarkable growth and success. Its mission to promote environmental goals and foster the production of sustainable American-grown cotton. In 2023, the program marked significant achievements, including a 25% increase in enrolled planted cotton acres and a 120% surge in grower enrollment. These milestones underscore the commitment of the Trust Protocol to sustainability and its resonance with both growers and major brands.
Grower Participation and Sustainable Cotton Metrics
With 1.6 million cotton acres enrolled for the 2023 crop year, representing 16% of U.S. planted cotton acres, the Trust Protocol has made substantial strides towards its sustainability objectives. Key metrics such as land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency are continually improved upon, aligning with global demands for sustainable cotton. Growers contribute to these efforts by providing farm-level data through self-assessment using Field to Market’s Fieldprint Calculator.
To ensure the credibility of sustainability claims, the Trust Protocol conducts annual verifications through third-party partners. Notably, due to increased grower enrollment, Averum, a sustainability certification specialist, joined Control Union Certifications North America (CUC) as a third-party verification support partner in August 2023. Averum’s strategic audit processes, coupled with expertise in agriculture, enhance the credibility and efficiency of the verification process.
New Brand Members
Macy’s Inc. and Kiabi, two prominent brands, joined the Trust Protocol in 2023, each driven by distinct sustainability goals. Macy’s commitment to sourcing sustainable U.S. cotton aligns with its private brand policy, aiming for 100% preferred materials in all Macy’s owned brands by 2030. Kiabi, an international fashion brand, joins the initiative as part of its pledge to sustainably source 100% of its products by 2025, complementing its existing practice of sourcing 72% of products with sustainable fibers.
From gin to retail storefront, the Trust Protocol ensures transparency and accountability through its Protocol Consumption Management Solution (PCMS). This innovative solution tracks Protocol cotton throughout the supply chain, providing article-level transparency and measurable environmental promises to stakeholders. The Trust Protocol stands out as the only sustainable cotton system offering quantifiable goals, verifiable measurements, and unprecedented supply chain transparency.
Growing Sustainable Cotton Partnerships
With a growing roster of over 2,000 supply chain members and partnerships with more than 40 companies and their brands, the Trust Protocol aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, earning recognition from the Textile Exchange. Collaborating with major brands like Ralph Lauren, Gap, Levi Strauss and Company, and J. Crew, the initiative ensures that consumers have access to high-quality, sustainably grown American cotton.
As the Trust Protocol continues its expansion, the key reminder for enrolled growers is to upload their 2023 bales by the March 1, 2024 deadline. Their essential role in the program’s success reinforces the importance of their contributions to sustainably grown U.S. cotton.
With a high standard of production supported by data-driven insights, the Trust Protocol anticipates another year of growth and impact, furthering its narrative of sustainably grown U.S. cotton on a global scale.