What is the REEL Cotton Code?

The REEL Cotton Programme is a three-year agricultural programme providing farmers with training on sustainable cotton farming practices.


Run by CottonConnect in partnership with leading brands and retailers, the programme is proven to increase yields and farm profits; while reducing environmental impacts. REEL Cotton can be fully traced from farmer to store.

Since its creation in 2010, the REEL programme has trained more than 20,000 farmers, predominantly in subsistence economies in India, China, Pakistan and Peru. Our goal is to reach 50,000 farmers by 2020. The REEL Cotton Programme is independently verified by a code of conduct developed with FLOCERT, the organization that provides Fairtrade International certification.

“FLOCERT is the global provider for Fairtrade certification services. We also support private institutions to convert their own sustainability programs into Private Codes, and we provide 3rd party verification. In this function, FLOCERT conducted a co-innovation project with CottonConnect and translated their cotton farmer training program REEL into a Private Code. We are proud to be an assigned CottonConnect partner for 3rd party verification of REEL.” – Rüdiger Meyer, CEO, FLOCERT

What is the REEL Cotton Code?

CottonConnect and FLOCERT have developed a code of conduct that is internationally recognised and verified by FLOCERT. The REEL Code verifies that farmers in the REEL Cotton Programme are using sustainable practices, with added elements that ensure traceability and decent work.

The code is based on nine principles (view full code here):

  1. Management skills
  2. Plant and field management
  3. Soil nutrient management
  4. Pest management
  5. Water management
  6. Ecosystem protection
  7. Waste management
  8. Institutional grouping
  9. Employment

REEL Cotton Programme – Benefits to farmers

Evaluation of the impact of the REEL Cotton programme revealed that the training achieved significant positive results globally, compared with a sample of conventional farmers not receiving the training.

Download a factsheet on REEL Code here to find out more. Only 15% of the world’s cotton fibre is currently classed as sustainable and of this around 20% is purchased as sustainable cotton. We invite brands and retailers across the cotton industry to join us to work to increase this figure and to transform the world’s cotton for good.

“Thanks to the REEL cotton programme we learnt about the essential nutrients required for healthy cotton growth. For the first time in so many years we received a better quality of cotton with increased yields which resulted in a high market price for our cotton.” – Godiben Vasani, Cotton farmer from Surendranagar, Gujarat, India.

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