Retail group Macy’s Inc. is advancing its preferred material sourcing strategy by joining the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, a cotton sustainability program.
As part of its Mission Every One social purpose initiative, the company—which includes the Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury banners—has committed to sourcing only preferred materials for its private label products by 2030. With its new membership in the Trust Protocol, Macy’s will be sourcing cotton from Trust Protocol growers, which is traceable through a blockchain solution.
“We have an ambition to have 40 percent of our private brand products managed by Macy’s sourcing team made with preferred fibers by 2025 and to grow that to 100 percent by 2030,” Laurie Rando, senior director, sustainability at Macy’s, Inc. told Sourcing Journal. “The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is an important part of this strategy. It offers two important elements: the ability to trace cotton through the supply chain and provide impact data for water, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission. This approach allows us to connect fiber goals to additional ambitions of traceability and reductions in our environmental impacts.”
Launched in 2020, the Trust Protocol was developed to create a new standard for sustainable cotton in the United States. The program sets sustainability goals for cotton growers across six metrics—land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency—and captures farm-level data from its enrolled growers to assess the progress toward these targets and improve transparency. This data is shared with its brand members, allowing them to have better visibility into their own impact.
“Macy’s membership signifies another great milestone for both Macy’s and the Trust Protocol,” Dr. Gary Adams, president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, told Sourcing Journal. “It demonstrates Macy’s commitment to sustainability and responsible sourcing within the cotton industry, and by becoming a member, Macy’s is aligning itself with a program committed to setting a new standard in sustainable cotton production through innovation, transparency and providing measurable, verifiable data across the supply chain.”
Along with data collection, the Trust Protocol offers cotton supply chain traceability. Using TextileGenesis’ blockchain technology, the Protocol Consumption Management Solution (PCMS) creates a Protocol Consumption Unit (PCU) for each kilogram of cotton that comes from a Protocol grower member. This PCU can then be traced through the blockchain to ensure that volumes of manufactured cotton products don’t exceed the tracked eligible fiber quantities. In addition to the blockchain, cotton is verified through shipping documents and invoices.
Once products are manufactured, brands can claim PCUs for the amount of cotton used in the process. They can also see a traceability map that provides details on the identity and location of each production partner—including spinners, weavers and garment manufacturers.
“Our relationships with our customers, colleagues and communities drive a deep sense of stewardship in how we serve our stakeholders and underpin our commitment to promoting sustainability across our global value chain,” said Rando. “The customer is at the center of all our work, and supporting their ability to shop more sustainable products across our nameplates is a priority. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol facilitates the data collection Macy’s requires to ensure a sustainable product claim is verified.”
To-date, the Trust Protocol has added more than 40 retailer and brand members, including American Eagle Outfitters, Ralph Lauren and Gap Inc. “Since our launch in 2020, we have been delighted by the interest it has received by prominent partners like Macy’s,” said Adams. “As more leading brands and retailers join, the Trust Protocol’s influence and impact in measuring sustainable practices in the U.S. cotton industry continue to expand.”