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The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Sets High Standards for a Verifiably Sustainable Industry

Trust in a smarter cotton future.

Cotton is the world’s friendliest fabric. It has clothed and comforted each and every one of us around the world for generations. And no one knows the importance of family and wellbeing better than the tens of thousands of farmers and collaborators that make the cotton industry possible.

The world is changing fast, and protecting the environment for future generations is a top priority for cotton growers. Meanwhile, consumers across the globe are taking action into their own hands by selectively choosing products that are sustainably sourced and manufactured.

That’s why U.S. Cotton is taking great strides to deliver the highest quality, ethically grown cotton on the market. From the seed to the store, consumers can rest assured that the fabric they buy for their homes, businesses and families lives up to the values they hold and the transparency they demand.

Launched in 2020, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is the initiative and science-based program for major manufacturers, brands, and retailers to source sustainably grown and manufactured cotton. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol sets and delivers real-time benchmarks of continuously improving six key sustainability metrics for cotton growers and mills in line with the United Nations 2025 Sustainable Development Goals: Land use, water management, soil carbon, soil loss,  greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol empowers its over 500 members by providing the means to deliver quantifiable and verifiable measurements and outputs from their sustainable growing and manufacturing practices. Through their Protocol Verified Cotton methodology, followed by vetted second- and third-party verification processes, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol guarantees supply chain transparency and gives members the chance to demonstrate to the world how, through hard work and commitment, industrial-level sustainability and social well-being are achievable.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol sets ambitious goals for their growers and mills. Not only do they aim to recruit up to half of all U.S. growers by 2025, but they also plan to support their growers in slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 39 percent, soil loss by 50 percent, energy use by 15 percent, and water usage by 18 percent, all in the next four years.

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U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol video

Leading the world with the promise of a better tomorrow

The program’s member U.S. Mills such as Buhler Corp., CAP Yarns, Carolina Cotton Works, Cotswold Industries, Contempora Fabrics, Frontier Yarns, Hamrick Mills, Keer America, Parkdale, and Swisstex Direct are taking the reins and demonstrating how U.S. Cotton, through the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, can revolutionize how business can be done and set sustainable and ethical standards that guarantee a better tomorrow for future generations.

At the same time, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol provides brands and retailers the critical assurances they need that the cotton fiber element in their products and supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental and social risk.

It’s because growing cotton isn’t just about seeds and soil. Large-scale farming is the backbone of the American and global economy, and every worker involved in the process is priceless. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol also promotes and guarantees worker wellbeing in every step of the supply chain. In order to meet their sustainability goals, growers, manufacturers, and retailers must ensure their employees and each member of the supply chain are honored with fair wages and safe working conditions.

This pledge extends to the communities and natural environment where each cotton crop is grown, milled and processed. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol knows that the health and success of the industry depend on the people and communities that make it possible.

To ensure its pledged commitment, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is overseen not only by industry experts but is composed of a multi-stakeholder board of directors that include independent sustainability authorities as well as representatives from brands, retailers, civil society and small-scale cooperatives, ginners, merchants, wholesalers, mills and cottonseed handlers.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is recognized by Textile Exchange, Forum for the Future, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Cotton 2025,  the Sustainable Cotton Challenge, Cotton 2040 and Cotton Up initiatives.

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