; FAQs - Trust US Cotton Protocol

Frequently Asked Questions

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Brands and Retailers can purchase Protocol Cotton fiber in their products by stipulating to their supply chain that the products need to be Protocol-eligible.

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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.

U.S. cotton growers lead the world in responsibly produced cotton. Through the Cotton LEADSSM program, which is a national-level program representing all U.S. cotton growers, the U.S. cotton industry organizations and growers communicate the advancements, commitment, and responsible production efforts to more than 650 retailer, brand, and manufacturer partners in more than 30 countries. For manufacturers, brands, and retailers, membership in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol offers an additional, enhanced way to measure and verify the U.S. cotton in their supply chain.

We believe that cotton produced by Trust Protocol members is representative of U.S. cotton. Brands and retailers that are members of the Trust Protocol purchase cotton with sustainability credentials proven via Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, measured via the Fieldprint® Calculator and verified through Control Union Certifications.  

Initially, Trust Protocol members will have access to aggregate sustainability metrics based on self-assessment questionnaires of participating producers. In addition, members will receive customized reporting based on national environmental metrics for key sustainability indicators. Field to Market released their latest Market Indicators report on the entire agriculture supply chain including cotton in December 2016. The next Field to Market report is expected in December 2021.  

Longer term, as enrollment in the Trust Protocol grows with multiple years of data, aggregate, year over year Fieldprint data derived from Trust Protocol participant growers can be provided to member companies. 

In addition, 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 programs worldwide, including working as a key partner in the early development and piloting phases of Field to Market’s Impact Claim Verification Protocol. CUC has also worked with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) on its third-party verification programs in multiple countries.

Finally, buying Trust Protocol cotton helps increase the overall demand globally for responsibly grown cotton. That demand will serve to enable further advancements in sustainability practices and the adoption of those practices globally.

The membership fees paid by retailers and brands to gain access to Trust Protocol cotton will be used to partially offset operating costs. Operating costs include the creation and management of the digital platform, grower, retailer, and brand awareness and recruitment, sharing of sustainability and production optimization-related best practices, grower acreage and sustainability database management, third-party data verification, and most notably for our retailer and brand partners, the Trust Protocol will be publishing data-backed, third-party verified sustainability information regarding U.S. Trust cotton for raw materials sourcing verification and sustainability reporting purposes.

The Trust Protocol will also use program funds to develop educational materials to help drive grower progress toward achieving five discreet sustainability objectives that involve continuous improvement advances by grower members. 

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 Field Calculator and verified with Control Union Certification. 

Membership of the Trust Protocol will provide brands and retailers with:

  • Quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement against more sustainable cotton production
  • Data from Trust Protocol growers through the detailed questionnaire of production/labor practices and metrics from our data partner Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture that will track progress towards industry goals and commitments and third-party verification via Control Union
  • The right to receive and claim volume-linked credits from the Trust Protocol database
  • Company logo on the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® website with up to 500-word profile of company’s sustainability commitment; Up to 5-minute video profile of company’s sustainability commitment; Promotion across U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® social channels; Identified as U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® Partner
  • Use of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® logo specifically identifying Company as Partner for use on company website, company advertising, social media
  • U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® digital brochure and artwork
  • U.S. Cotton Trust communications toolkit to support sustainability and traceability storytelling to shareholders, employees and customers, including custom content for your annual report
  • Regular email updates of U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® and related news
  • Longer term, members can receive aggregate, year over year data based on the Fieldprint results for participating growers.

Click here to view the full member benefits

Meet Our Growers

Aaron Barcellos


I am a fourth-generation grower from Marianna, Arkansas—the east part of the state. After earning my law degree in 2005, I returned home to work alongside my father growing around 60% cotton—with the rest in rice and soybeans. My operation has a total of about 10 employees—one of whom started working for my grandfather in 1968, Charles Patton. I am a flexible grower, trying new technologies or practices to save water and energy. I’m not afraid to experiment with computer programs and variable rate technology. I was named 2015 Arkansas Farmer of the Year and Arkansas Business 2019 40 Under 40. I live with my wife Kristin and my four children.

As science, the research and studies continue to reveal, biotech crops are continuing to improve our environment, allow us to grow more on less land and improve in areas we never imagined before. As a cotton and corn producer, to me the biggest benefit has been our drastic reduction in pesticide applications.