U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol
Published 9 months ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: Rodnae Productions
/ This article is sponsored by
U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.
Investing in data and transparency in anticipation of disclosure demands will give brands and retailers greater visibility into their supply chains, so they will be better positioned to weather the changing regulatory landscape.
Fashion is being tested as new transparency requirements go into effect, marking
the start of a new wave of sustainability regulation.
On January 1, 2023, a French
went into effect that made it mandatory for brands and retailers to give
consumers detailed information about the environmental characteristics of their
products via a label detailing precise climate impact — including the country
where the weaving and confectioning have been conducted, what was used to color
and how far it traveled must now be presented to consumers. In addition to
information disclosure obligations, the law prohibits the use of the claim
“biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” or any other similar claim for new
products. This law could be seen as a preview of what’s to come in Europe
and the US, as the mood around access to data is reflective of both
developments in the regulatory landscape and the broader shift in consumer
sentiment towards greater transparency.
Access to verified data leads to greater efficiencies, which is needed to help
unravel fashion’s opaque supply chain. One of the ways brands and retailers are
addressing data needs is through partnerships or membership in sustainability
programs that can help drive visibility. And as regulation expands and interest
grows in regenerative agriculture
more brands are looking to receive information about their tier 3 suppliers.
One such sustainability program is the U.S. Cotton Trust
Protocol, which delivers quantifiable, verifiable
goals and measurements to the key sustainability metrics of US cotton production
to its 1000+ members across the fashion supply chain. It is the only system that
provides measurable, verified data on land use, soil carbon, water management,
soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency; and the world’s
first sustainable cotton fiber program to offer article-level supply chain
transparency to all its members.
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In November 2022, the Trust Protocol published its annual report that
highlighted aggregate farm-level data received from 624 growers across 17
cotton-growing states on more than 1.1 million acres. The program
saw improvements across all six key sustainability metrics it measures — fueled
by agriculture innovations and technology. In 2021/22, 89 percent of Trust
Protocol growers utilized precision ag technologies including GPS receivers,
multi-spectral images and ground-based sensors — which gather field-specific
parameters including soil conditions, nutrients and water availability. They
assess the data to deploy site-specific crop management practices to maximize
yields and minimize crop inputs. Real-time weather radar allows growers to avoid
activities affected by storms, such as run-off from nutrient and herbicide
applications. Yield maps show how areas within fields may need different
The 2021/22 Trust Protocol aggregate data showed a 13
percent increase in yield and land use efficiency, a 14 percent increase in
irrigated water efficiency, a 25 percent reduction in energy use, and a 21
percent reduction of GHG emissions.
Implementing regenerative practices positively influences the entire bio
sequestration and the storing of carbon, which is directly helping to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions while fostering biodiversity. Soil health and soil
carbon are high priorities as healthy soils aid in retaining more water, carbon
storage and crop productivity. In 2021/22, Trust Protocol growers reported a 78
percent reduction of soil loss, while 70 percent reported a positive
Brand and retail members gain access to US-grown cotton with sustainability
credentials proven via Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable
Agriculture, measured via the Fieldprint Calculator, and verified with
Control Union Certifications. Members also experience full supply chain
transparency through the Protocol Consumption Management Solution — which
to record and verify the movement of US cotton fiber along the supply chain,
beginning at the gin.
Planned regulations in the EU include requirements to make products more
durable, reduce their environmental footprint and to provide more transparency
for consumers about items’ impact on the climate. The proposed New York Fashion
Act combines due diligence and transparency
requirements which, if passed, could impose penalties for brands and retailers
up to 2 percent of their global revenue.
Making strategic partnerships and investing in data and transparency in
anticipation of disclosure demands will help brands and retailers have greater
visibility into their supply chains, so that they will be better positioned to
weather the changing regulatory landscape.
Published Feb 23, 2023 7am EST / 4am PST / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.