Macy’s has recently joined the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, which will help the company source cotton sustainably in order to improve the environmental impacts of its textile products and enhance supply chain transparency.
The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, launched in 2020, uses six key sustainability metrics to help companies source sustainable cotton, including land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency. The Trust Protocol’s system uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals in order to provide quantifiable and verifiable information to its members. Sustainability metrics are measured through Field to Market’s Fieldprint Platform, which allows cotton growers to measure the environmental impacts of their operations and identify opportunities to improve farming practices.
Macy’s has worked to build a more sustainable business model through its pledge to source 100% preferred, or climate-conscious, materials in the company’s private brand products by 2030. By joining the Trust Protocol, the commitment now includes sourcing U.S. Cotton and Protocol Cotton from the Trust Protocol growers.
“In 2022 we released our private brand cotton policy and we’re already making great progress,” said Keelin Evans, vice president of sustainability for Macy’s. “We expect that more than half of cotton products within our private brand products managed by the Macy’s sourcing team will be sustainably sourced by the end of 2023. Our Trust Protocol membership will support and accelerate these efforts to meet our 2030 ambitions by helping us to better trace our supply chain and demonstrate the progress we’re making toward meeting our environmental targets.”
Cotton’s Role in Sustainable Apparel and Textiles
The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol now has more than 1,200 brand members, including other major clothing retailers like Levi’s and Gap.
According to the Trust Protocol’s 2021-2022 annual report, the grower members saw a 13% increase in land use efficiency, a 25% reduction in energy use, and a 78% reduction in soil loss. They also reported an overall 21% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through implementing climate-smart production practices.
In an industry known for being a major polluter and waste producer, sourcing materials more sustainably may contribute to producing textiles and apparel without damaging the land needed to create such products. As the demand for cotton increases along with overall global population growth, the cotton industry is working to figure out how to simultaneously increase production while conserving resources and reducing environmental degradation.