Total area of enrolled planted cotton acres grows by 25% 

Cotton field being harvested. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.)

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol recently announced a 25% increase compared to 2022 in the total area of planted cotton acres enrolled in the program, reaching 1.6 million acres in 2023—its greatest expansion to date. 

This represents not only impressive growth in enrolled cotton acreage in a single year but also the fourth year of expansion that now represents 16% of all planted U.S. cotton acres in 2023. 

This announcement marks a milestone in the growth and development of the program and means that an increasing amount of sustainably grown cotton is available for brand and retailer members to access. 

“We continue to be inspired and encouraged to see that U.S. cotton growers have once again expanded the number of planted acres enrolled in the program, underscoring their unwavering commitment to ongoing improvement,” said Daren Abney, executive director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “With the growing number of enrolled acres, we’re making even more environmentally responsible cotton accessible to our brand and retailer members for sourcing. The Trust Protocol team is excited to support our members in their more responsible sourcing practices.” 

Brand and retailer members can track both U.S. Cotton and Protocol Cotton through the Protocol Consumption Management Solution and claim Protocol Consumption Units. Protocol Cotton is grown and harvested on Protocol farms and 1 PCCU is minted for each kilogram of Protocol Cotton in the system. To date, 970 million PCCUs are available to be consumed in the PCMS, which is equivalent to 4.45 million bales of cotton. 

The Trust Protocol’s vision is to set a new standard in sustainable cotton production where full transparency is a reality and continuous improvement is the goal. The program’s core values include a commitment to U.S. cotton’s legacy of authenticity, innovation and excellence, environmental stewardship, caring for people, and personal and corporate integrity. The program currently has more than 1,800 supplier members over 40 companies and brands including global brands and retailers such as Ralph Lauren, Gap, Levi Strauss & Co. and J.Crew. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, recognized by Textile Exchange and Forum for the Future, and part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Cotton 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, Cotton 2040 and Cotton Up initiatives. It has also been recognized and published in the ITC Standards Map, recognized as a standard for sustainable cotton by the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, and is an ISEAL Community Member.