COTTON USA Outreach Boosts U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® Membership

Over 25 brands and retailers and 1,110 mills and manufacturers from 36 countries joined the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® as of March 2023, exceeding Cotton Council International’s (CCI) goal of 1,050 sign-ups in 2022 from those industry segments. Launched in 2020, the Trust Protocol is the world’s first sustainable cotton fiber program to offer article-level supply chain transparency as well as science-based, field-level verified data.

Enrolling members into the Trust Protocol is critical to establishing U.S. cotton as a sustainable fiber option and pushing more U.S. cotton through the global textile-apparel supply chain. The Trust Protocol now counts GAP, Amazon, Target, Ralph Lauren, J.Crew, American Eagle, Levi Strauss & Co. and other large brands and retailers as members.

Approximately 25 CCI events in the past year —funded in part by the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development program (FMD), the Agricultural Trade Promotion program (ATP) and U.S. cotton industry contributions—promoted U.S. cotton’s sustainability and the Trust Protocol. In post-event surveys of the nearly 3,800 participants, 83% said they were likely to purchase U.S. cotton, 82% agreed joining the Trust Protocol could help their business, and 80% said the Trust Protocol was better than other sustainable cotton programs.

The Trust Protocol’s combination of robust environmental data and unmatched supply chain transparency has earned the program accreditation from some of the most important textile sustainability standards, including the International Trade Center (ITC), Textile Exchange, International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL) and the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. In turn, these endorsements have helped the Trust Protocol— and U.S. cotton—gain credibility in the sustainability realm.

CCI’s efforts to highlight the Trust Protocol’s data and traceability have been paying off. Cotton Days, Sustainability Seminars, Sourcing Fairs, Farm Tours and the Sourcing USA Summit were some of the COTTON USA events that influenced mills, manufacturers, brands and retailers to join the Trust Protocol. Furthermore, a survey of brand/retailer sustainability employees conducted from December 2022 to January 2023 found that 56% believe the Trust Protocol provides the most quantifiable data, while 50% believe it provides more transparency into the supply chain than other notable sustainability programs.

The steadily increasing brand, retailer, mill and manufacturer support of the Trust Protocol clearly demonstrates the value of U.S. cotton’s trusted sustainability and traceability credentials, which positions U.S. cotton fiber as a top sourcing option for the global textile industry.


U.S. Cotton Trust


Better Cotton Cotton Made in Africa Organic Responsible Brazilian Cotton
Most Quantifiable Data
56% 3% 0% 35% 3%
Provides Transparency into Supply Chain  

















Cotton Council International


Market Access Program - MAP, Foreign Market Development Program - FMD, Agricultural Trade Promotion Program - ATP


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