The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol that was introduced at the end of last year during the Cotton Sourcing USA Summit is now beginning to take shape. The program is intended to track cotton production practices to identify areas which can be updated and improved. Implementing a data collection initiative is part of the industry’s work to achieve its overall 2025 sustainability goals.
“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 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’ll hear about us over the next couple months as we are enrolling producers through this summer.”
After launching the pilot program, the goal is to have the protocol fully implemented for the 2020 cotton crop year. Burton noted that the work to develop the program and bring it online has been a collaborative effort on behalf of many of the major industry organizations. “The leadership of the U.S. cotton industry, the National Cotton Council, Cotton Council International, the Cotton Board, and also Cotton Incorporated developed a team of researchers and scientists to research cotton and how future technologies would impact trends and key performance indicators,” said Burton.
The research team identified several factors of production that evolved into six goals to improve the overall sustainability of the cotton industry. “Those goals ranged from greenhouse gas emissions to soil loss, to water usage, energy usage, soil carbon,” Burton noted. The industry also hopes to reduce the amount of land necessary for fiber production through further increasing the productivity of the cotton industry.