The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol has released its second annual report, detailing the results for the 2021-22 period (Aug. 1, 2021-July 31, 2022).
In the report, the farm-level, science-based sustainability program reports significant improvements in the sustainability metrics measured, an increase in membership across the value chain, completion of nine successful pilots, and growing international recognition by independent and government bodies.
Growing Sustainable Results
In the 2021-22 period, the Trust Protocol was able to provide farm-level data reporting showing significant improvements, with grower members demonstrating tangible results across six key metrics:
- 13% increase in land use efficiency and a 14% increase in water use efficiency
- 25% reduction in energy use
- 21% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
- 78% reduction in soil loss
- Positive Soil Conservation Index for 70% of growers.
Membership Growth Across the Value Chain
Membership across the program has shown solid growth both in the U.S. and internationally:
- Enrolled areas of U.S. cotton production have doubled since the program’s pilot year to 1.1 million acres, with all 17 U.S. cotton-producing states now represented.
- Mill and manufacturer membership has increased significantly, now showing 820 companies from 30 countries – an increase of >50% in the past year.
- The total number of brand-and-retail members has grown to 40, including global brand and retailer giants such as Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Tesco, Levi Strauss & Co., GAP, and Old Navy.
The Trust Protocol has been piloting, testing, and scaling technology solutions that record and track the movement of U.S. Cotton and Protocol Cotton through brand and retailer member’s supply chains to their finished products. This allows tracking of cotton through complex supply chains in a way that has not been possible at scale before.
Nine completed pilots were completed involving global brands and retailers with nearly 150 mills. Another 15 pilots are confirmed to be initiated with 125 additional mills.
In 2022, the Trust Protocol received international recognition from two major evaluation bodies:
- In May 2022, the Trust Protocol was approved by Siegelklarheit (‘seal clarity’), an initiative of the German federal government that provides a transparent, independent, and comprehensive evaluation system that informs consumers about credible seals to allow them to make more sustainable purchasing decisions.
- In June 2022, the Trust Protocol was accepted as an ISEAL Community Member following a rigorous and meticulous approval process just 18 months after the Protocol was launched. ISEAL supports ambitious sustainability systems and their partners to help define credible practice for sustainability systems based on emerging global consensus.
“These results are excellent, and even more so given the challenges of the past year – from increased scrutiny brought by the changing regulatory landscape to U.S. cotton growers faced with rising production costs and weather extremes,” says Dr. Gary Adams, President of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “The past year has been one of perseverance, dedication, and commitment. That has meant focusing on foundational growth and making thoughtful, innovative decisions.
“To continue this growth and ensure the program’s success, we need to maintain our unwavering commitment to, and support of, our growers as they work towards continuously improving against our six core environmental metrics,” he adds. “Maintaining a focus on innovation and implementation of the latest technologies will also be a key tool in helping them improve our future environmental footprint.”
Adams noted that the results speak for themselves through the impressive progress made by growers on key sustainability metrics and in the positive response from the supply chain, as demonstrated by the increasing number of growers, mills, manufacturers, brands, and retailers who are active members of the program.
“As we continue to increase the number of growers participating in the Trust Protocol, we also expect that future environmental performance against our targets may change,” points out Adams. “Ultimately, to have the greatest impact requires both the broadest participation and the best environmental performance. We strive for both, but we also want to be transparent about our expectations for the future with our partners as we grow.”
Based on information provided by the U.S. Cotton Trust ProtocolΠηγή: Cotton Grower