Friday, December 2, 2022

1st Trust Protocol Annual Report Out

The 2020-21 U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Annual Report reveals that this “made from scratch” system for sustainably grown U.S. cotton made significant progress in its first year.

What is the Trust Protocol’s overall goal?

gary adams, ncc
Gary Adams, NCC

This science-based sustainability initiative is delivering a better future for U.S. cotton. It contributes to the planet’s preservation by bringing quantifiable/verifiable goals and measurement to sustainable U.S. cotton production while driving continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics: land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency.

The Trust Protocol also is helping meet the needs of brands/retailers in the fashion/textile industries, which are being asked to provide product sourcing data. In fact, two-thirds of surveyed sustainability decision-makers at 1,000 brands/retailers in the United States and the United Kingdom said having this data is important to their sustainability goals.

How about first-year achievements?

Producers, gins, merchandisers, mills, manufacturers, brands, retailers, along with industry and non-governmental organizations came together to support the Trust Protocol in the midst of a global pandemic. The inaugural Trust Protocol Annual Report at https://report.trustuscotton.org/ revealed these specifics:

1) some 950,000 cotton bales, representing 6% of U.S. cotton grown in 2020-21, were enrolled in the Trust Protocol;

2) approximately 300 producers enrolled for the 2020 cotton crop;

3) efforts have begun toward bringing on board 3 million bales of U.S. cotton for 2021-22 and enrolling 50% of U.S.-grown cotton by 2025.

The Trust Protocol also now counts 560 organizations across the supply chain as members. This includes more than 525 mills/manufacturers and 37 global brands/retailers. Among those were: Advance Denim, one of the top three Chinese denim manufacturers; Gildan; Tesco; Levi Strauss & Co; and PVH Corp., one of the largest global apparel companies, and its brands Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.

Work continues toward a second-year goal of enrolling 100 global brands/retailers and 1,000 mills/manufacturers. All enrollment targets will be reviewed and updated each year.

Any Other Success?

cotton agenda art
The 2020-21 U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Annual Report reveals how a new standard in sustainability is being established.

The Trust Protocol now is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and recognized by Textile Exchange and Forum for the Future.

It also is:

1) part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a global, industrywide nonprofit of more than 250 members working to reduce environmental impact and promote social justice throughout the global value chain;

2) a member of the Cotton 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, Cotton 2040 and Cotton Up initiatives;

3) collaborating with the TextileGenesis platform enabling it to become the world’s first sustainable cotton fiber to offer full transparency across the supply chain. Protocol Consumption Management Solution pilot trials were begun with selected brands and mills, with full deployment envisioned for early 2022.

Crucial to future success will be ongoing support of U.S. cotton producers as they seek a smaller environmental footprint through their participation in the Trust Protocol. A priority will be maintaining a focus on innovation and working to understand the latest technologies/techniques. While expanding this sustainability initiative will be important to meeting brand/retailer demand, personal and corporate integrity will remain at the forefront.


Gary Adams is president/CEO of the National Cotton Council of America. He also serves as president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

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