This includes Gap Inc. and its related brands Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta as well as United Kingdom retailers Next Plc. and Byford. The protocol also has welcomed the first U.S. mills, the first members in Latin America, and Advance Denim, one of China’s top three denim manufacturers.
“Sustainability and transparency are becoming more important in the fashion industry,” said Dr. Gary Adams, president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “Consumers expect and are calling for reduction in companies’ environmental footprint and the Trust Protocol will provide the data that enables them to tell their sustainability story.”
The protocol is a system for more responsibly grown cotton that has committed to six areas of sustainability in line with the U.N. Sustainability Development Goals. It underpins and verifies sustainability progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification, enabling members to better track the cotton entering their supply chain. Members also will have access to aggregate year-over-year data on water use, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, soil carbon and land use efficiency.
“The Trust Protocol is a complement to other sustainability initiatives and was designed to fit the unique growing environment in the United States,” Adams said. “By joining, these more than 300 members will have the critical assurances needed to verify that the cotton fiber element of their supply chain is more sustainably grown.”
The protocol is included on the Textile Exchange’s list of 36 preferred fibers and materials that more than 170 participating brands and retailers can select from as part of exchange’s Material Change Index program. The protocol also is working to align with existing standards in the cotton industry and is part of the Forum for the Future Cotton 2040 and the CottonUp guide.
The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol contributed this article.