How It Works

Full supply chain transparency for all members

It all starts with authentic Protocol Verified Cotton
  • The Protocol Consumption Management Solution (PCMS) starts at the gin when the participating producer’s cotton is ginned and each unique Permanent Bale Identification number (PBI) is attached. At this point we know the exact gin weight and can create an exact amount of Protocol Cotton Consumption Units, where one Protocol Cotton Consumption Unit is created for each kilogram of Protocol Verified Cotton. This important step provides absolute authentication of U.S. cotton origin, verifying against the USDA database.
  • The PCMS harnesses blockchain technology to record and verify the movement of U.S. cotton fiber along the entire suppy chain, creating article-specific transparency for finished products that was not previously accessible to brands and retailers.

Trusted Third Party Verification

The Trust Protocol incorporates a comprehensive program of verification against Trust Protocol benchmarks, in the form of both second-party and independent third-party audits of grower performance through Control Union Certifications—the latter through allocated on-site visits.
Control Union Certifications has certified over 150 industry standards programs worldwide, including working as a key partner in the early development and piloting phases of Field to Market’s Impact Claim Verification Protocol.

How does it work?

Supply Chain Transparency

The Protocol Consumption Management Solution (PCMS) harnesses blockchain technology through a powerful combination of the Trust Protocol Platform and TextileGenesis(TM) system to deliver full supply chain transparency by recording and verifying the movement of U.S. cotton fiber along the entire supply chain.

  1. It starts with the creation of Protocol Cotton Consumption Units: U.S. cotton fiber is grown and harvested on Trust Protocol grower members’ farms. As this fiber is ginned, we capture each bale’s unique PBI and gin weight and verify it against a USDA master list for authenticity and duplication. Once verified, one Protocol Cotton Consumtion Unit is created for each kilogram of Protocol Verified Cotton.The Protocol Cotton Consumption Units are claimable by Trust Protocol brand and retail members in volumes equivalent to their consumption of Protocol Cotton fiber in their finished products as recorded in the PMCS in each Protocol Year.
  2. Transparency throughout the supply chain: Unlike any other solution on the market today, the PCMS offers article-specific, double verification of every transaction by ensuring availability of Protocol-eligible materials and by verifying invoices and shipping documents.The PCMS will create a transparency map that provides the authenticated origin of the U.S. cotton, along with the names and locations of the Trust Protocol mill members that were involved in all parts of the production process, into the finished products that are shipped to the brand and retailer.The unbroken chain of custody and related document trail captured in the PCMS assures supply chain transactions.
  1. Claiming Protocol Consumption Units: As brands and retailers receive their Protocol-eligible finished product, the PCMS will convert the amount of kilograms of Protocol Cotton fiber that was consumed throughout the process, taking into account waste factors along the way, into a specific number of Protocol Cotton Consumption Units, assignable to specific products, which are then available for brand and retailer members to claim.If a brand or retailer decides to claim Protocol Cotton Consumption Units, the PCMS will verify availability, transfer them into the brand or retailer’s account, then automatically reduce the amount available. At the end of each month the brand or retailer will receive a report outlining their total claimed Protocol Cotton Consumption Units.
  2. Receiving farm-level environmental data: When the brand or retailer receives the Protocol Cotton Consumption Units, a proportional amount of the total farm-level environmental data captured by the Trust Protocol in six key sustainability metrics including land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency can be assigned. This allows the brand or retailer to start making their own sustainability claims and report against those targets.
  3. Forecasting future needs: In order to help meet future demand, brand and retailer members will be asked to submit an anticipated three-year forecast of total cotton consumption and Protocol Cotton Consumption Unit claims that will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Trusted Verification Methodologies

Second-Party Verification

The second-party verification process will start with an aggregator contacting the producer to notify them that second party verification is needed. The aggregator will also verify the self-assessment and use of the data tool during this time to ensure that second-party verification can proceed. Next, the second-party verifier will contact the producer to review the verification process and may request documentation.

The verification documents will be uploaded to the Trust Protocol platform and/or emailed to the second-party verifier. The use of technology to expedite the second party verification process is permitted and recommended.

A second-party verifier is a contracted specialist or representative of the aggregator who aids the grower in completing self-assessment and attests to the accuracy of information supplied. Twenty-five percent of producers from each region will be second party verified.

Additionally, second-party verification will:

  • Only be conducted by individuals who have successfully completed a common training program (1 day) such that their audits will be in accordance with a standard format agreed upon by all stakeholders; and
  • Be sufficiently robust such that third-party audits may be considered a redundant unnecessary expense to some brands/retailers.

Third-Party Verification

Further, if a grower is subject to a third-party audit and fails due to an issue that should have been addressed during the second-party verification process, the second-party verifier stands to lose their accreditation because of implied negligence of duty.

The third-party verification process will be initiated by the Trust Protocol by making contact with the member grower and the aggregator directly to notify them of being selected for a third-party verification visit. 

Verification documents can be uploaded to the Trust Protocol Dashboard and FaceTime, videos, and/or pictures will be allowed to expedite the verification process as necessary. Additionally, the third-party verifier may need to visit the farm if additional information is needed to complete the audit. All farm visits will occur after the harvest.

Episode 7 of Smarter Conversations

How does third-party verification work and how do we do it?

This episode focuses on independent verification, which is at the heart of the Trust Protocol. Diana Perez from Control Union Certifications and Trust Protocol grower Dahlen Hancock from Texas explain how it works – in theory and in practice – and why it matters.