Industry And Cluster | News & Insights

Gap joins Trust Protocol and Sustainable Cotton Challenge

Published: December 9, 2020
Author: Manali bhanushali

Leading global apparel company Gap Inc. has joined the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and Textile Exchange’s 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge as part of its integrated sustainability strategy and to help it achieve its commitment to use only 100% sustainably sourced cotton by 2025.

Gap Inc.’s target of sourcing 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2025 is set across its collection of purpose-led lifestyle brands including Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta.

The Trust Protocol will help Gap Inc. meet this goal by providing verified data on the sustainability practices used on U.S. cotton farms. Participating cotton growers will benefit from data-driven insights and best practices from across the industry, as well as a stronger connection to brands asking for sustainably grown cotton. The Trust Protocol opened for membership in October 2020 and provides brands and retailers with the critical assurance they need to prove that the cotton in their supply chain is more responsibly grown.

“Continuous improvement is important to Gap Inc., which is why we have decided to begin sourcing more sustainable fibre through the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. As part of our commitment to address climate change by aligning with the best science and industry practices, we have ambitious targets across metrics to lower carbon emissions and preserve precious natural resources like water. As an American company with purpose-led brands committed to sustainability, joining the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol makes perfect sense,” said Alice Hartley, Director of Product Sustainability for Gap Inc. “With two thirds of U.S. cotton not using any irrigation at all, this allows us to further our commitment to sustainable cotton and enables us to support U.S. cotton growers.”

The U.S Cotton Trust Protocol underpins and verifies sustainability progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. Member brands like Gap Inc. have access to aggregate year-over-year data in six areas: water use; greenhouse gas emissions; energy use; soil carbon, soil loss and land use efficiency.

“Gap Inc.’s brands are in every household, including my own, and I am personally honoured it has chosen to work with us because it’s a global company that takes sustainability seriously,” said Dr. Gary Adams, president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “Gap Inc. has made significant strides since setting sustainability goals, and the Trust Protocol’s farm-level data will help it in its mission to improve its impact and protect our natural resources. By signing on to the Trust Protocol, Gap Inc. will support our shared mission to educate U.S. growers around the most sustainable growing practices and support grower enrolment.”

In addition to joining the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, Gap Inc. has also accepted the Textile Exchange 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge. Formed in 2017 when His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales convened a group of CEOs to address critical challenges facing the world, it is the vision of the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge that more than 50 percent of the world’s cotton is converted to more sustainable growing methods. Brands and retailers joining the challenge and committing to source more sustainable cotton can choose from Textile Exchange’s list of recognized organic and sustainable cotton initiatives, which have the ability to increase the income of smallholder farmers, eliminate highly hazardous pesticides, eliminate or reduce the amount of pesticides and synthetic fertilizer used, reduce water use and improve water quality and soil health. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol was recognized as one such initiative in April 2020.

Gap Inc. began sourcing from more sustainably grown cotton programs in 2016 and within just three years more than half (57%) of the cotton in its products came from these sources. It has joined the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge to help enable it to bridge the remaining 43% to use 100% sustainably sourced cotton across all its products by 2025.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol enables brands and retailers like Gap Inc. to better track the cotton entering their supply chain: the combination of a unique credit accounting system and the Permanent Bale Identification (PBI) system enables brands to have improved transparency throughout the supply chain. The Protocol works together with Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and Control Union Certifications North America and is on the Textile Exchange’s list of 36 preferred fibres and materials from which more than 170 brands and retailers can select through Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index program. It is also part of Cotton 2040 and the CottonUp guide.

The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies U.S. cotton’s progress through sophisticated data collection and independent third-party verification. Choosing Trust Protocol cotton will give brands and retailers the critical assurances they need that the cotton fibre element of their supply chain is more sustainably grown with lower environmental risk. Brands and retailers will gain access to U.S. cotton with sustainability credentials proven via Field to Market, measured via the Fieldprint Calculator and verified with Control Union Certifications.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is overseen by a multi-stakeholder Board of Directors comprised of representatives from brands and retailers, civil society and independent sustainability experts as well as the cotton-growing industry, including growers, ginners, merchants, wholesalers and cooperatives, mills and cottonseed handlers.

US Cotton Trust Protocol

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