MEMPHIS, TENN – The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol has reached the milestone of welcoming more than 300 brand, retailer, mill and manufacturer members since it opened enrollment six months ago. This includes Gap Inc. and its purpose-led lifestyle brands Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta as well as UK retailers Next Plc. and Byford. The Trust 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 Trust 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,” continued Adams. “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 Trust 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 Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index program. The Trust 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.
About the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol
In a period of ever-greater supply chain scrutiny and a growing demand for transparency, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will set a standard for more sustainably grown cotton. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the issue of responsibly-grown cotton production and drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics.
The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies U.S. cotton’s progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. Choosing Trust Protocol cotton will give brands and retailers the critical assurances they need that the cotton fiber element of their supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental and social risk. Brands and retailers will gain access to U.S. cotton with sustainability credentials proven via Field to Market, measured via the Fieldprint Calculator and verified with Control Union Certifications.
The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is overseen by a multi-stakeholder Board of Directors comprised of representatives from brands and retailers, civil society and independent sustainability experts as well as the cotton-growing industry, including growers, ginners, merchants, wholesalers and cooperatives, mills and cottonseed handlers.