We are thrilled to share U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and Cotton Incorporated have been awarded the 2023 Collaboration of the Year Award by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture®. This award recognizes outstanding collaboration and cross-sector alliance in advancing the continuous improvement of cotton sustainability at the field and landscape level.
It is an honor to receive this award and we are grateful for the recognition of our efforts to advance sustainable agriculture. We believe collaboration is key to driving meaningful change and achieving our shared sustainability goals.
The motivation for creating the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol began in 2019 from an appreciation of two key trends. First, an awareness of the hard work and commitment of many U.S. cotton growers to the highest environmental and labor standards. Second, an understanding of the growing expectation of brands and retailers to not only provide goods that have highly transparent supply chains and a robust sustainability profile but to provide evidence of this too.
The Trust Protocol aims to unite stakeholders, showcasing the efforts of U.S. cotton growers and highlighting their capabilities. It supports their endeavors to further success, contributing to the transformation of the U.S. cotton industry into a global leader in sustainable cotton production. The Trust Protocol sees its role as helping to drive positive change on participating farms. At the same time, we worked to enable brands and retailers across the world to access cotton – a natural fiber– that has a sustainability profile and supply chain that is transparent, and to do so via a system that gave them measurable, quantifiable, and verifiable data.
The pilot was quickly deemed a success and evolved in 2020 to the large-scale program it is today. With over 40 global companies and brands, over 1,800 mill and manufacturer members, and an estimated 1.6 million acres enrolled through its producer membership, the program is making significant progress against its intended goals.
Aligned with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the Trust Protocol is the only system that provides quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurements and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics – land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency. It is the world’s first sustainable cotton fiber program to offer article-level supply chain transparency to all members. This is done through the Protocol Consumption Management Solution (PCMS).
Cotton Incorporated is committed to continual improvement and meeting the industry’s 10-year sustainability goals. In September 2022, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol was awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant for the U.S. Climate Smart Cotton Program. In this program, The Trust Protocol, Cotton Incorporated, and the six other partners involved are providing technical and financial assistance to up to 1,650 U.S. cotton producers, including 330 producers from historically underserved communities, to advance the adoption of climate-smart conservation practices.
The Climate Smart Cotton Program takes our industry to the next step by utilizing the Trust Protocol’s foundational reputation and program partners’ expertise so that producers can learn, grow, and explore new opportunities for enhancing climate-smart practice adoption, as well as resources to aid with implementation. This project is a testament to Cotton Incorporated’s commitment to promoting sustainable cotton production practices that benefit both the environment and the growers.
Looking ahead, we are excited to see how the Trust Protocol and the Climate Smart Cotton Program continue to grow. Thank you again to Field to Market for recognizing the importance of this collaboration, and congratulations once again to all the winners of the 2023 Sustainability Leadership Awards. We look forward to continuing our work towards a smarter cotton future.