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US cotton industry develops new protocol for greater sustainability

At the Cotton Sourcing USA Summit, Ted Schneider, President Cotton Council International introduced US Cotton Trust Protocol, a new integrated data collection, measurement, and verification procedure to more than 400 attendees in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Cotton Sourcing USA Summit
Figure: Cotton Sourcing USA Summit focuses on innovation, quality, and sustainability.

Its objective is to document US cotton production practices and their environmental impact. The data will benchmark farmer gains towards the industry’s sustainability goals of 2025 as well as provide the global textile supply chain additional assurances that the cotton is produced in a responsible manner.

In the summit, Ted Schneider said, “I would argue that US cotton is already among the most sustainably produced in the world. We know that US cotton growers continue to embrace new technologies and management techniques that reduce impact and increase yield, but today’s textile industry needs more than just our word.”

“The trust protocol is meant to address that need with a tangible and transparent snapshot of US cotton growing practices and the gains resulting from them.”

US cotton is already among the most sustainably produced in the world. We know that US cotton growers continue to embrace new technologies and management techniques that reduce impact and increase yield.

Ted Schneider, President Cotton Council International

A pilot program will be launched in the month of June 2019 which will be fully implemented for the 2020 cotton crop year. Practicing growers will have to adopt data tools that allow quantitative measurement of sustainability metrics like FieldPrint Platform, a pioneering assessment framework along with a self-assessment checklist.

“In June of 2019, we’re going to have a pilot program launched for the protocol, where it’s a self-enrolled system. We’re going to not only ask the leadership of the industry to be highly involved in this pilot program, but we’re also reaching out to the merchants and cooperatives and asking them to help us as well to enroll perspective members,” said Executive Director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Ken Burton.

“Stay tuned if you’re a producer. Hopefully, you will hear about us over the next couple months as we are enrolling producers through this summer.”

The 2025 US cotton sustainability goals
Figure 2: The 2025 sustainability goals.

For the next decade and beyond, U.S. cotton producers and industry organizations are setting new environmental targets to keep pushing the frontier of sustainability and leading the worldwide effort in responsible cotton production.

During the Summit, participants were also updated on how the US cotton industry intends to meet its 2025 sustainability goals. The target areas and goals were established using science-based evaluations, including key performance indicators (KPIs) for producing each pound of cotton and pathways to achieve them.

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