Enrollment is open for cotton growers to the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol for the 2021 cotton crop. Existing members will also need to re-enroll their operations. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol sets a new standard for more sustainably grown cotton amid greater demand for transparency.
Ted Schneider, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Board Member and a Louisiana cotton farmer, says enrollment is simple and easy.
“It’s easy, it only takes a few steps. You would visit our website, trustuscotton.org, and you would register your operation. There’s a self-assessment that you have to complete. At the end of the year or as your year goes along, you enter your practices into field to market. It all probably takes about two hours during the course of the year.”
Schneider says the protocol brings verifiable goals and measurement to sustainable cotton production, something that customers of U.S. cotton seek.
“It enables our customers to better hear our sustainability story. We have a great story to tell, and if we don’t tell our story there are others out there who do tell our story. The best people to tell our story is us. We grow the crop, we live on our farms, the producers need to take control of that narrative and be proud to tell our story. That’s what the Trust Protocol allows the producer to do.”
The customers of U.S. cotton are under pressure by their consumers to prove the products they source are produced sustainably.
“We’ve had quite a few brand and retail members sign up including a U.S. company, The Gap and its collection of brands, Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta. And we have 200 global mills and manufacturer members, including the first ten U.S. mills, and first members in Latin America. So, the brands and retailers have been involved in the development of this Protocol from day one.”
The program was designed as to not be a burden on cotton growers, starting with the self-assessment.
“We view ourselves and our small community as cotton farmers, but we’re not, we’re a member of a supply chain of the apparel industry which is much, much, bigger. They’re our customers, and we need to meet the needs of our customers, and this protocol will help us to do that.”
He adds that the U.S. Cotton Trust protocol is valuable for the entire U.S. cotton supply chain.
“The U.S. Trust Protocol will use only U.S. cotton, and the use of the self-assessment, and the use of field to market, will create data and statistics that will prove to our industry members that we are actually very sustainable. We feel like that we’re the most sustainable cotton grown in the world.”
Growers can follow the Protocol on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can contact the Protocol by emailing email@example.com.