US Cotton Trust Protocol (Trust Protocol) points out that with a 120% increase in grower enrollment since its launch three years ago, the programme now requires a significantly higher number of independent verifications.

Averum, which specialises in assisting agricultural companies to assess, manage, and communicate their environmental and social sustainability, will be working with Control Union Certifications who have supported Trust Protocol’s third-party verifications since 2020.

Trust Protocol describes itself as the only system that provides quantifiable, verifiable goals and measurement and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics – land use; soil carbon; water management; soil loss; greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.

The programme is said to capture key environmental and social data under a farm-level, science-based system, and reports these annually on an aggregated basis.

US Cotton Trust Protocol president Dr Gary Adams believes verifications play a critical role for the organisation as they bridge the Gap between growers’ self-reporting and actual data, providing assurances to the brands and retailers on the sustainability of their raw cotton sourcing.

Adams continues: “To ensure we are staying committed to our independent verification methodology as we see continued growth in grower participation, we have chosen to partner with Averum who specialises in environmental and social sustainability, both of which are fundamental components of the Trust Protocol.”

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The US Cotton Trust Protocol explains the programme uses the square root model for proportional sampling to better represent grower members throughout the Cotton Belt.

In fact, it says that as participation increases, the methodology remains valid and statistically significant.

Earlier this year, American Eagle Outfitters was the latest apparel brand to join The US Cotton Trust Protocol in an effort to scale sustainable practices in US cotton production.

To date, Trust Protocol has welcomed more than 1,600 brands, retailers, mill and manufacturing members, including Levi Strauss & Co, Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle Outfitters Inc, and J Crew.