September 5, 2023
Producer enrollment in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol has increased 120% since its launch three years ago. The program, which requires independent verifications, recently appointed Averum to help provide third-party verification support.
“Verifications play a critical role for the Trust Protocol as they bridge the gap between growers’ self-reporting and actual data, providing assurances to the brands and retailers on the sustainability of their raw cotton sourcing,” said Gary Adams, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol president, in a recent release.
Gary Adams, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol president (Photo by Shelley E. Huguley)
“To ensure we are staying committed to our independent verification methodology as we see continued growth in grower participation, we have chosen to partner with Averum who specializes in environmental and social sustainability, both of which are fundamental components of the Trust Protocol."
The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol provides quantifiable, verifiable goals and measurement and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics: land use; soil carbon; water management; soil loss; greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.
Averum will be working in conjunction with Control Union Certifications who have been assisting with the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol’s third-party verifications since 2020.
Averum’s auditors, located throughout the United States, have experience in the food and agriculture industry. Their auditing philosophy strives to strike a balance that respects the time of agricultural professionals and is minimally invasive. They operate as a subsidiary of Pinion, a leading national food and agriculture business consulting and accounting firm.
Bales awaiting pickup at Ross Gin, Mercedes, Texas. (Photo by Shelley E. Huguley)
The Trust Protocol utilizes the square root model for proportional sampling to better represent grower members throughout the Cotton Belt. As participation increases, the methodology remains valid and statistically significant, according to Trust Protocol representatives.
The program captures key environmental and social data under a farm-level, science-based system, and reports these annually on an aggregated basis.
To date, the Trust Protocol has welcomed more than 1,600 brand, retailer, mill and manufacturer members, including Levi Strauss & Co., Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., and J.Crew. To learn more about the program’s verification process, follow this link.
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