Enrolling in the Trust Protocol will help growers ensure markets for their cotton by verifiably demonstrating the sustainability record of American cotton in the global market.

Enrolling in the Trust Protocol will help growers ensure markets for their cotton by verifiably demonstrating the sustainability record of American cotton in the global market.

American cotton growers can now join the US Cotton Trust Protocol, a new standard for verifying the sustainability progress of US cotton.

Earlier this year, the Protocol said it would be opening up membership to brands and retailers for the first time. 

It says as consumers continue to demand eco-friendly products, enrolling in the Trust Protocol will help growers ensure markets for their cotton by verifiably demonstrating the sustainability record of American cotton in the global market.

The Trust Protocol helps US growers document and showcase their land management and environmental stewardship practices while helping them achieve continuous improvement related to certain environmental sustainability measurements.

Each participating grower commits to documenting and tracking their progress toward improving soil carbon health while seeking year-over-year reductions in soil erosion, overall land use, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. By 2025, the Trust Protocol seeks to have more than 50% of all US cotton registered as Trust Protocol Cotton.

"Consumers want more transparency when it comes to the products they purchase, and the European Union is threatening brands and retailers with stricter regulations when it comes to sustainability reporting and the responsible sourcing of raw materials. These evolving dynamics prompted the creation of a new sustainability standard for cotton and the launching of the US Trust Protocol by the industry," said Gary Adams, president of the US Cotton Trust Protocol.

"By joining the Trust Protocol, our growers will now be able to better document their current sustainability programs using a quantifiable, digital platform and that data is assessed and verified by a third-party audit – something no other cotton-producing nation does today."

The Trust Protocol documents and verifies each growers' sustainability progress through a sophisticated data collection platform developed by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, which is a non-profit alliance comprised of diverse grower organisations and other agricultural, fuel and food supply chain participants and stakeholders. Its mission is to help better define, measure and advance the sustainability of food, fibre and fuel products in the United States. Field to Market's Fieldprint Analysis Component is widely used by the agricultural industry as a common measurement framework to help document sustainability practices and drive continuous improvement of those measurements.  

"Brands and retailers can now purchase US cotton with even greater confidence, knowing that it is grown more sustainably and verified by third-party audit," said Adams.

Through the Field to Market platform, participant growers will have access to aggregate year-over-year data on the following five sustainability pillars: water use, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, soil carbon and land-use efficiency. By joining the program and tracking their progress against these five sustainability pillars, participant growers can better demonstrate their sustainability performance and resource use efficiency, while comparing that performance against the Trust Protocol's verifiable goals and Field to Market's state and national benchmarks.

Earlier this month, the Protocol announced it was taking the initiative to China.