U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Achieves Remarkable Growth and Sustained Progress Across Sustainability Metrics

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
February 14th, 2024
4:13 PM

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol triples its grower membership in three years, with 975 growers on 1.7 million acres, highlighting its dedication to sustainability in the industry.

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The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol celebrates a significant milestone, tripling its grower membership within just three years. With 975 growers now enrolled, spanning almost 1.7 million acres, representing approximately 23% of the entire U.S. cotton-growing area, the program underscores its commitment to driving sustainable practices across the industry. These achievements are highlighted in the third Annual Report of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

The latest report reveals the program's continued progress across all six key sustainability metrics: land use, water use efficiency, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, soil conservation, and soil carbon. Notable improvements from the 2015 baseline figures include a remarkable 79% reduction in soil loss, accompanied by a 12% increase in yields over the national average. Additionally, 83% of Protocol growers report positive soil carbon index readings, with water efficiency up by 14%, and significant reductions of over 20% in both greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage.


Embracing Regenerative Agriculture

In line with its commitment to sustainability, the Trust Protocol's Annual Report also highlights strides made in regenerative agriculture, employing Field-to-market methodology. Practices such as cover cropping, minimal tillage methods, biodiversity promotion, rotational farming, precision agriculture techniques, Integrated Pest Management, and tailored input usage tailored to specific landscape conditions drive positive environmental outcomes.


Enhanced Data Interpretation

With the substantial increase in enrolled growers, the Trust Protocol recognizes the importance of robust data interpretation. The larger dataset resulting from greater participation enhances the statistical significance of findings and enables a better representation of diverse farming practices, regions, and conditions. However, the program acknowledges the potential for data anomalies due to rapid growth. To mitigate this, aggregate data reporting over three years ensures a more accurate reflection of overall trends and reduces the impact of outliers. Darren Abney, Executive Director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, expressed optimism about the results, emphasizing the importance of accurate data collection in driving informed decisions across the supply chain. He stated that the data demonstrates how Protocol growers continue to improve their environmental performance, year on year.


About the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol stands as a voluntary, science-based sustainability program, setting a new standard for the entire cotton supply chain. The program drives continuous improvement across key sustainability metrics by delivering quantifiable, verifiable goals and measurements. Notably, it is the world’s first sustainable cotton fiber program to offer article-level supply chain transparency to all members. Overseen by a multi-stakeholder Board of Directors, the Trust Protocol engages representatives from brands and retailers, civil society, independent sustainability experts, and various sectors of the cotton-growing industry, fostering collaboration towards a more sustainable future.