Two organisations have come together in a move to measure and improve the sustainability progress of US cotton production – enabling brands and retailers to better measure the sustainability of cotton entering their supply chains.

In a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed this week, the US Cotton Trust Protocol and Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture have formalised their partnership to combine two of the industry's leading sustainability assessment frameworks.

They have committed to:

  • Scale grower access to sustainability measurement by enabling farmers enrolled in the US Cotton Trust Protocol to utilise metrics from Field to Market's Fieldprint Platform, allowing growers to analyse the connection between agronomic practices and sustainability outcomes;
  • Track US cotton's sustainability journey through continued publication of Field to Market's National Indicators Report, which will communicate progress against the industry's established environmental targets; and
  • Foster an increased level of collaboration by participating in each other's meetings and work sessions.

The two will assess progress against the US cotton industry's established environmental targets. By 2025, the industry aims to achieve targeted reductions in soil loss, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy use, alongside increased land use efficiency and soil carbon. The Trust Protocol completed a successful project pilot in 2019 and has begun fully implementing its programmes in 2020, with a goal to enrol at least 500 producers by December 2020.

"Sustainability is a growing priority for the US cotton value chain, from consumers, brands, retailers to textile manufacturers," says Ken Burton, executive director of the US Cotton Trust Protocol.

Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market, adds: "Through this collaboration, Field to Market is committed to scaling access to our sustainability tools and analytics and enabling growers and the broader cotton value chain to measure environmental outcomes while identifying opportunities for improvement."

Last month, the US Cotton Trust Protocol selected Contol Union Certifications North America (CUC) to verify the Trust Protocol annual data that will highlight key sustainability metrics including water management, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.

Earlier this year Burton wrote on just-style about how Sustainable development must continue – even in times of crisis.