The industry-aligned U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol hit a new milestone Wednesday, more than doubling its grower participation since last year.
Founded in 2020, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol aims to set a new standard for U.S.-grown cotton, ensuring transparency and sustainability are central with its farm-level, science-based measurement.
“During our second year, we doubled the number of U.S. cotton growers in the program with an estimated 1.1 million cotton acres enrolled,” Dr. Gary Adams, president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, said in a press statement. In 2021, this number stood at around 1 million acres. “Our grower members are global leaders when it comes to sustainable cotton production, and as supply chain membership continues to grow, producers are encouraged to join the initiative to help ensure there is enough cotton in the system to meet demand.”
The Trust Protocol is able to offer article-level transparency by way of its Protocol Consumption Management Solution (PCMS) that links an individual cotton bale to its unique Permanent Bale number or “PBI.” This data is then matched against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cotton database. In a partnership with technology player TextileGenesis, the Trust Protocol is able to trace each level of the supply chain from bale to retail.
In a sustainability event held by Fairchild Media Group in April, Adams said the importance of transparency has only grown. “We’ve seen this now with the increased importance of [transparency] and scrutiny that’s happening within government regulations in the U.S., and import restrictions on certain products coming from China, and we know that has increased the importance of transparency.”
To date, more than 600 brand, retailer, mill and manufacturer partners have signed onto the Trust Protocol, including the likes of Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc. and J. Crew Group, among others. The organization aligns with sustainable raw material and sourcing commitments.
Along with its brand members, the Trust Protocol is overseen by civil society and independent sustainability experts.
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