The US Cotton Trust Protocol – an integrated data collection, measurement and verification procedure that will document US cotton production practices and their environmental impact – will help the cotton industry to meet its 2025 sustainability goals. Introduced by Cotton Council International at the Cotton Sourcing USA Summit in Scottsdale, AZ, data generated by the Protocol will benchmark farmers’ gains towards the industry goals and will provide the global textile supply chain additional assurances that US cotton is produced in a responsible manner. The online interface and associated databases are currently being developed by The Seam, a leading provider of trading and technology solutions for commodities trading, particularly in cotton.
Details of the Protocol are being fine-tuned, and a pilot program will be launched in 2019 and fully implemented with the 2020 cotton crop year. Participating growers will have to adopt a data tool that allows for the quantitative measurement of key sustainability metrics, such as the FieldPrint Platform. Growers will also have to complete a self-assessment checklist of best management practices, with a sampling of participating producers subjected to independent verification.