The Cotton Council International (CCI) president Ted Schneider, introduced the US Cotton Trust Protocol to around 400 attendees at the recently held Cotton Sourcing USA Summit. CCI is the NCC’s (National Cotton Council) export promotion arm that conducts programmes under the Cotton USA trademark. NCC is the central organisation for the US cotton industry.
Schneider also updated attendees on how the US cotton industry intends to meet its 2025 sustainability goals. The US Cotton Trust Protocol is an integrated data collection, measurement and verification procedure that will document US cotton production practices and their environmental impact. The data is intended to 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, according to NCC.
The US cotton national sustainability goals, as announced last year, aim for 13 per cent increase in productivity, 18 per cent increase in irrigation efficiency,39 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 15 per cent reduction in energy expenditures, 50 per cent reduction in soil loss; and 30 per cent increase in soil carbon, by 2025.
“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,” Schneider said.
The details of the protocol are being fine-tuned, and a pilot programme will be launched in 2019 and fully implemented with the 2020 cotton crop year. Participating growers would be required to adopt a data tool that allows for the quantitative measurement of key sustainability metrics, such as the FieldPrint Platform from field to market. Growers also would complete a self-assessment checklist of best management practices; with a sampling of participating producers subjected to independent verification. The online interface and associated databases are currently being developed by a Memphis-based company, The Seam.