U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol president says that U.S. cotton’s standing in the global supply chain is being elevated by producers’ involvement in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol sustainability initiative.
■ As the Trust Protocol’s first year comes to a close, what are some of the notable achievements?
The most significant stride is the recent collaboration with the TextileGenesis platform. This enabled the Trust Protocol to become the world’s first sustainable cotton fiber to offer full transparency across the supply chain — which is imperative for brands and retailers.
The collaboration of TextileGenesis and the Trust Protocol — with its third-party verified on-farm data collection — creates a powerful solution for brands and retailers worldwide who want to know the cotton fiber element of their supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental and social risk.
The bottom line is that U.S. cotton’s global marketplace reputation could be elevated significantly. Initial pilot trials with selected brands and mills began this month, with full Protocol Credit Management System deployment envisioned for early 2022.
Among other recent activities are the Trust Protocol’s joining the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the program’s survey research that 1) revealed a sharp increase in consumer demand for sustainable products and business practices and 2) confirmed the global fashion industry’s commitment to sustainability.
■ How is participation going?
Slightly more than 300 cotton producers completed the enrollment process for the 2020 crop, helping the U.S. cotton industry meet 2025 environmental footprint reduction goals in the areas of land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency.
Of those 300 producers, 75 completed the desktop verification and some 20 to 30 will complete the Control Union verification. Producers began enrolling their 2021 crop in April — with the goal of at least doubling producer enrollment this season. Equally exciting is that more than 300 brands, retailers, mills and manufacturers have become Trust Protocol members.
■ What is needed from producers going forward?
Strong enrollment (and re-enrollment) in the Trust Protocol will
1) demonstrate to brands/retailers that the United States is a leader in sustainable cotton growing practices and
2) enable producers to track their sustainability progress by comparing year-over-year Fieldprint calculator-collected data both from within their farms and anonymously against other Trust Protocol producers.
We are grateful to the U.S. cotton producers who thus far have enrolled in the Trust Protocol and strongly encourage others to participate in this very important initiative. To begin the enrollment process, click the Join Now button on top of our website — www.trustuscotton.org.
If you have questions on the program or on enrollment, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the program’s activities is at that site as well as on Facebook at www.facebook.com/trustuscotton/ and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/trustuscotton/.
Gary Adams is president/CEO of the National Cotton Council of America. He also serves as president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.