Trust in a Smarter Cotton Future


    In a period of ever greater supply chain scrutiny and a growing demand for transparency and traceability, The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol (Trust Protocol) sets a new standard for more sustainably grown cotton. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to sustainable cotton production and drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics. Choosing Trust Protocol cotton gives you the critical assurances you need that the cotton fiber element of your supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental and social risk.

    Put simply: The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol helps the apparel industry to measure its sustainability commitments to its customers, to its broader stakeholders, and to itself.

    We invite you to take part in a smarter cotton future.

    Committed to continuous improvement 

    The 16,000 cotton farms in the United States have been committed to continuous improvement for decades. Over the past 35 years, U.S. cotton production has used less water per bale and reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, all while reducing land use per bale. The adoption of practices such as minimal tillage, GPS and sensor-driven precision agriculture, and the growing of winter cover crops have further improved soil health, reducing loss and erosion and increasing soil carbon levels.

    U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol was named one of Textile Exchange’s preferred fibers 

    Introducing the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol 

    The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies U.S. cotton’s sustainability progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. Brands and retailers will gain access to U.S. cotton with sustainability credentials proven via FieldtoMarket, measured via the Fieldprint Calculator and verified with Control Union Certifications.The Trust Protocol is a complement to existing sustainability programs which cater for cotton grown in developing countries. It is designed from the ground up to fit the unique cotton growing environment of the United States.

    Aligned with the UN SDGs and other industry goals 

    The Trust Protocol helps companies achieve their sustainability commitments. The Trust Protocol is setting a new standard for more sustainable cotton production. Trust Protocol growers are stewards of the land, committed to raising the bar for responsible farming methods and improving the environment for future generations. The Trust Protocol also contributes to seven of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly.

    Levi Strauss & Co. 

    “We are in strong support of the introduction of standards – including the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol – that champion sustainably grown cotton and drive wider adoption over the long-term of sustainable cultivation practices.”

    Liza Schillo, Senior Manager, Global Sustainability Integration, Levi Strauss & Co.; U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol consultant board member


    “In terms of cotton production, we are focused on reducing water, chemical usage and carbon emissions. The Trust Protocol’s year-on-year data will be so useful as we make progress in showing those reductions.”

    Joe Little, Head of Technical: Fabric, Color, Sustainability & Garment Technology, Tesco; U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol consultant board member

    “By capturing data directly from U.S. growers, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will monitor and report progress against clearly defined environmental goals. Whether it’s water usage or biodiversity, this data will be a valuable tool for brands as they look to demonstrate the quantifiable impact of their sourcing decisions.”

    Tara Luckman, Former Head of Sustainable Sourcing, ASOS; advisor, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol consultant


    “Through the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, growers have committed to reduce water use by an additional 18% by 2025. I believe that the Trust Protocol will be an important tool to guarantee that cotton growers continue on the path towards zero-impact farming.”

    Melissa Ho, Senior Vice President, Fresh Water and Food, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), board member, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

    Benefits to brands and retailers 

    Supply chain 

    The Trust Protocol is needed to help brands and retailors better track the cotton entering their supply chain and to further quantify and report on their individual sustainability goals and objectives.

    Performance metrics 

    Each member of the Trust Protocol will be granted access to third-party verified sustainability performance metrics as well as aggregated grower-sourced data pertaining to six key sustainability elements.

    Sustainability reporting 

    The published metrics and associated data can be used by members for sustainability reporting, ESG audits and GRI standards, among other uses.

    Independent verification 

    Control Union Certifications is implementing independent, third-party verification to give brands and retailers assurance that the Trust Protocol is meeting the highest standards of sustainability.

    Consumer facing assets 

    Logo and materials that can be used at pointof-sale to give consumers confidence they are buying responsibly sourced content.

    Contact the Trust Protocol for more information.


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