The refreshed board of directors for US Cotton Trust Protocol includes 11 new board members, taking the total to 22, including three new brand and retailer members.

The refreshed board comes as part of a governance review and what the organisation called “a natural inflection point in the Trust Protocol’s evolution”.

The board’s expansion aims to give greater and more equal representation to international stakeholders across the entire supply chain, while also enhancing the board’s diversity.

The new board includes four growers from each of the US’ cotton-growing regions, three representatives of gin and cottonseed producers, four merchants and cooperatives, four mills and manufacturers, three representatives from NGOs and academia and four brand and retailer members.

The new brand and retailer members include: Katie O’Hare, senior director, sustainability, J. Crew Group​, Agata Smeets, head of environment and product sustainability, Gap Inc​ and Virginie Cayzeele, head of raw materials, Kiabi​.

Gap Inc previously joined both the US Cotton Trust Protocol and Textile Exchange’s 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge to help speed its efforts to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2025.

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US Cotton Trust Protocol’s executive director Daren Abney commented: “I’m thrilled about the formation of our newly refreshed Board of Directors. Comprised of exceptional experts and leaders spanning the global supply chain, this board represents a significant milestone in the governance of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

“By incorporating a blend of domestic and international voices, this board will ensure a diversity of perspectives that will drive value for all members across the supply chain, while ensuring that cotton growers remain at the very heart of the program.”

Board members at the US Cotton Trust Protocol are appointed for two years, which can be renewed once. The organisation also has a separate advisor council to provide ad-hoc expertise on specific topics.

In October 2023, US Cotton Trust Protocol reported that there are now 1.6m acres of cotton crop under its progamme in the US, as GlobalData filings analysis shows an increase in interest in US cotton.