Measures and Verifies Sustainability Commitments

There has never been a greater expectation for sustainability and transparency, as brands and retailers around the globe are being held accountable for every step of their supply chain – from ensuring responsible labor and sustainable growing practices to delivering a circular lifecycle. While U.S. cotton is widely recognized for its quality, the industry has never had the data to support its sustainability credentials.

Aligned with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the Trust Protocol brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to more sustainable cotton production and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics – land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.

The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies U.S. cotton’s sustainability progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. Choosing the Trust Protocol cotton will provide 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.

Launched in the summer of 2020, the Trust Protocol is voluntary for U.S. cotton producers and allows us to report on six key sustainability metrics from the farm-level. Firmly rooted in their established principles of continuous improvement, this initiative will help drive all U.S. cotton production towards their 2025 sustainability targets and beyond.

The Trust Protocol is aligned with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals as well as the G7 Fashion Pact, the UNFCCC Fashion Industry Charter, the Sustainable Cotton Challenge and the Forum for the Future: Cotton 2040 goals.

U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change is based on science based measurement and feedback.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”

The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, and the intention is for governments to achieve their SDG targets by 2030. The Trust Protocol contributes to the following goals through its achievements and commitments:

Other Pledges the Trust Protocol Supports

Sustainable Cotton Challenge

    • Increase uptake of sustainable cotton by promoting participation in sustainable cotton growing programs like the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol®
    • Reduce water use and improve water quality and soil health
    • Eliminate highly hazardous pesticides and eliminate or reduce pesticide and synthetic fertilizer amounts through integrated pest management, enhanced protection for workers and the environment, advanced soil mapping technology, and by improving nutrient management practices

Forum for the Future: Cotton 2040 Goals

    • Increase uptake of sustainable cotton by promoting uptake of the Trust Protocol
    • Better traceability via the pilot with Oritain for forensic tracking of origin fingerprint
    • Building resilience for millions of smallholder cotton farming through capacity building in developing nations

G7 Fashion Pact

    • Science-based targets to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees by reducing GHG emissions by a target of 39%
    • Restore biodiversity through integrated pest management, soil quality and water availability
    • Protect the oceans through stopping plastic use from cotton, and integrated pest management

UNFCCC Fashion Industry Charter 

    • Commit to 39% aggregate GHG emission reductions
    • Commit to prioritizing materials with low climate-impact without negatively affecting other sustainability aspects—the Trust Protocol cotton is among the lowest of climate impact textiles
    • Commit to pursue energy efficiency across the value chain with a 15% target decrease
    • Build strategic alignment with other brands by collaborating across the value chain

Episode 9 of Smarter Conversations

Sustainable cotton production for biodiversity protection

This episode explores how sustainable practices in cotton production are helping to promote biodiversity. Sledge Taylor and Marshall Hardwick explain why, as cotton growers, biodiversity is important to them and why growers care about it. Topics explored include regenerative agriculture, conservation tillage, habitat preservation, cover crops and pesticide use. 

More Information About Sustainable Commitments