The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, a voluntary, farm-level sustainability program, has tripled its membership in just three years while delivering continuous sustainability improvements. According to its third annual report, growers enrolled in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol now represent 1.7 million acres (0.7 million hectares), which is nearly a quarter (23%) of the entire cotton-growing area of the United States. Despite the program expanding significantly, it has continued to make progress across all the sustainability metrics it tracks, with aggregate improvements on 2015 baseline figures including:

  • A 79% reduction in soil loss with yields 12% greater than the national average
  • 83% of Protocol growers report a positive soil carbon index
  • A 14% increase in water use efficiency
  • A 27% reduction in energy consumption
  • GHG emissions are down by more than a fifth (21%)

The Trust Protocol’s Annual Report also includes key metrics on progress in regenerative agriculture using Field to Market methodology. Highlights include a 19% increase in cover crop adoption since 2021/2022 and no-till practices used across 63% of Fieldprint acres.

Commenting on the results, U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol’s Executive Director Daren Abney said: I’m greatly encouraged by the continued progress, and not least by the exponential growth in enrolled planted cotton acres. Accurate data collection sets the stage for appropriate decisions for brands and retailers, where they can claim how much water has been saved or how many greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced. Today’s data demonstrates how Protocol growers continue to improve their environmental performance year on year. We do not have a final destination: our journey is one of continuous improvement in the pursuit of excellence.”