Leading garment manufacturer Gildan has strengthened its commitment to sustainability in its supply chain by joining the US Cotton Trust Protocol.

Joining the programme, which sets standards at farm level, will help Gildan to ensure that the cotton that it buys from the US is sustainably grown with low environmental and social risks.

With brands including American Apparel, Gildan, Alstyle and Comfort Colors, most of the fibre used in the Montreal-based company’s products are made from cotton.

The US Cotton Trust Protocol is a farm-level, science-based programme that sets a new standard for more sustainably grown cotton. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurements to sustainable cotton production as well as driving continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics: land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency.

Members are also provided with full supply chain transparency through the Protocol Credit Management System. Other members range from retailers such as Tesco and Next to manufacturers around the world.

Gildan’s president and CEO, Glenn Chamandy, said: “At Gildan, we have a vision of ‘Making Apparel Better’ and we have long been committed to ensuring that our supply chain is ethical and sustainable from fibre to shirt.

“Joining the US Cotton Trust Protocol is a natural next step in our sustainability and transparency journey as it will increase transparency into our supply chain while also providing us with additional assurance that the cotton we purchase from the US is sustainably grown with low environmental and social risks.”

The US Cotton Trust Protocol is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and recognised by Textile Exchange and Forum for the Future. It is also part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Cotton 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, Cotton 2040, and Cotton Up initiatives.

Dr Gary Adams, president of the US Cotton Trust Protocol, said: “Gildan has a proven track record of a strong commitment to sustainable practices and we are pleased to welcome them as new members. Their company was founded on the principle of producing sustainable and ethical apparel, to which cotton is a key component.

“As members of the US Cotton Trust Protocol, we will help them further this principle by providing them third-party verified assurances that they are sourcing responsibly produced, quality fibre and reducing environmental and social risk in their field-to-mill supply chain.”