Other programmes – Further information

Other programmes – Further information

Having explored sustainability programmes and codes individually in detail on the previous page, you may find a direct comparison of these programmes useful as you consider how to incorporate sustainable cotton into your supply chain.


The table below provides in-depth information about other programmes and codes, covering key facts and figures, and details about their programme’s emphasis on different sustainability issues. It should help you choose which would align best with your goals and brand values.

The information in this table has been provided and verified by Textile Exchange and is republished in the CottonUP guide with their permission. Production data refers to 2017/18 and will be updated annually.

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To create a more sustainable American landscape.

To create more sustainable, traceable cotton.


e3™ is BASF CropScience’s more sustainable cotton option. It is grown in the U.S.A. with care by cotton producers striving to improve their sustainability in production of the highest-quality upland cotton for apparel and home furnishings.

The REEL Cotton Programme is a 3-year modular program for farmers with Sustainable Agricultural Practices (SAP) at its core. It has four key focus areas:
– Agronomic training
– Social mobility and engagement
– Supply chain verification
– Brand reputation

Producing Countries (2017/18 unless otherwise stated)


China, India, Pakistan, Peru

Fiber Production 2017/18 (MT)



Market Share of Total Cotton Grown (2017/18)



Growth in production (2016/17 - 2017/18)

52% decrease

33% decrease

Projected growth in production


Projected increase

Yield (see accompanying “TE Position” notes)

754/lb per acre to more than 2,000/lb per acre [138 kg/ha to 367 kg/ha]

9.4% average yield increase among REEL farmers compared with control farmers.

Rainfed/ Irrigated


Mostly irrigated (rainfed in some regions)

Water Management

Aims to reduce irrigation water use.

Promotes water efficiency. 12.5% average reduction in water use compared with control farmers. The REEL Cotton Code requires water used for irrigation of cotton fields stems from sustainable sources and is safe for crop, soil and human health. Farmers are encouraged to adopt measures to optimise water use for irrigation and adopt water resource recharging practices.

Water Consumption (m3/ 1000kg fiber*) or best practices used to conserve water

36% of e3 producers use drip irrigation or low pressure sprinklers and flow meters. At least 73% of e3 producers practice residue management, use cover crops, mulching, or other evaporation prevention measures.

No LCA data

Soil fertility

Promotes soil health and stewardship. Activity is assessed on various factors including land use and soil carbon. Concept based on continuous, measured improvement.

Promotes soil health and nutrient management through crop rotation and composting. REEL Code requires appropriate measures are implemented to increase soil fertility and avoid erosion of the soil.


Promoted biodiversity conservation. Activity is assessed on various factors including conservation. The concept is to improve one’s performance on these various parameters over time.

Promotes the use of bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers and reduces the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. The REEL Cotton Code requires cotton production to respect ecologically sensitive areas by keeping sufficiently sized buffers around cotton fields. Farmers are motivated to plant trees around farms; diversify their production system through crop rotation and intercropping; plant border crops around the cotton field; and take necessary steps to increase beneficial insects on the farms.
NB: CottonConnect is conducting a pilot to measure biodiversity and soil health improvements.

Eutrophication (kg of phosphate- eq/1000 kg fiber *)

79% of e3 producers use grass waterways or filter strips to control water runoff and 46% use vegitative borders to reduce nutrient runoff.

No LCA data

GMOs Permitted?



Use of Hazardous Pesticides

Pesticide use is measured under e3™ guidelines, while IPM is encourage through precision farming technologies, and subject to US regulations regarding pesticide use. 92% of e3™ producers use non-chemical means of pest control including Bt varieties and biobased insecticides and 91% preserve beneficial insects by using scouts who can identify and understand economic value of useful insects.

REEL farmers are trained in pest management and reduction of harmful chemical use. Training is provided on organic pesticides (e.g. neem spray). Use of chemical pesticides reduced on average by 17.1% compared with control farmers.

Use of Synthetic Fertilizer

Fertilizer use is measured under e3™ program criteria, along with crop rotation, compositing and cover crop usage. 98% of e3™ producers conduct soil test and 94% applied nutrients based on crop & soil needs and/or University recommendations.

REEL farmers trained in composting, crop rotation and reduction in use of chemical fertilizers. Use of chemical pesticides reduced on average by 12.7% compared with control farmers.

Primary Energy Demand MJ/1000 kg fiber *

34% of e3 producers use renewable or alternative energy such as ethanol, biodiesel, solar or wind wind energy

No LCA data

Global Warming (kg of CO2-eq/ 1000kg fiber*)

92% of e3 producers reduce nitrous oxide emissions through optimum rates and timing of nitrogen fertilizer or use of a nitrogen stabilizer. 46% of e3 producers plant new trees, maintain forest areas and pastures, to offset carbon emissions

No LCA data

Social considerations/regulations

US cotton growers are all held to high standards by law for worker health and safety. EEO Equal Employment Opportunity, Child Labor Legislation, Personal Protection and Migrant Labor Laws all must be adhered to.

Provides training to produce cotton with respect for human rights principles for decent working conditions; no child labour; application of health and safety principles; gender inclusion. Focus on women empowerment through Women in Cotton programme.


e3 farmers are paid a small per bale incentive to reinvest in sustainable improvement practices.

REEL farmers receive training to increase yield and profit. 7.3% average profit compared with control farmers. In addition to agronomic training, REEL Cotton programmes improve livelihoods through the social intervention programmes including ‘Women in Cotton’, ‘Farmer Business School’ and ‘Health and Safety in Cotton Gins’.

Verification / Certification (farm level)

Self-evaluation and 3rd party audits.

The REEL Code of conduct is developed by CottonConnect & FLOCERT and verified by FLOCERT (

Chain of Custody (supply chain)

CoC to the mill (for further content claims use).

CottonConnect has developed a product called TraceBale, providing traceability from the source of cotton to the finished product. The software tool uses a TraceBale ID to provide visibility of the cotton from the farmers to ginners, and connecting into existing yarn ID systems to provide traceability throughout the supply chain.

LCA available?

No, but tracking systems are provided via tools that measure producer operations activities and field level activities.

Water consumption; Primary energy demand; Global warming; Eutrophication
NB: No LCA data available this year; however CottonConnect is conducting a pilot to measure LCA factors.

Product marketing/labeling

Limited on product marketing.

REEL Cotton products can be labelled as REEL Cotton or using a brand’s own label for sustainable cotton.

Consumer recognition

No data

Primarily B2B but in-store marketing.

Cost implications/ impacts

Small price differential paid to farmers, negotiated with individual brand/ retailer.

Brand/ retailer pays for service.

Quality perception/ implications

No known quality implications.

No known quality implications.

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