Cotton sustainability plan introduced

By Justin Walker

A plan to help U.S. cotton meet sustainability goals was introduced mid-November at a national event.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol was announced by Cotton Council International President Ted Schneider at the Cotton Sourcing USA Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. The plan is intended to keep the industry on track with its 2025 sustainability goals.

The protocol will collect, measure and verify data on U.S. cotton practices and its impact on the environment.

The plan is meant to track individual grower’s progress in meeting industry goals and will assure the global textile supply chain that cotton grown in the U.S. is done so responsibly.

The 2025 sustainability goals for the U.S., which were announced last year, include:

13 percent increase in productivity
18 percent increase in irrigation efficiency
39 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
15 reduction in energy expenditures
50 reduction in soil loss
30 increase in soil carbon

“I would argue that U.S. cotton is already among the most sustainably produced in the world,” Schneider said in an interview with Southwest Farm Press.

The comprehensive regulatory environment in the United States, close connection of U.S. growers to their land, high adoption rates of precision agricultural techniques by U.S. cotton growers and nearly 40 years of environmental improvement show cotton farmers embrace sustainability.

“We know that U.S. 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,” Schneider said. “The Trust Protocol is meant to address that need with a tangible and transparent snapshot of U.S. cotton growing practices and the gains resulting from them.”

Details for U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol have not been finalized, but a pilot program is expected to launch in 2019.

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