is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to
meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations
through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy,
equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders,
co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty,
openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Seven Co-operative Principles
Voluntary and Open Membership
Democratic Member Control
Member Economic Participation
Autonomy and Independence
Education, Training and Information
Co-operation among Co-operatives
Concern for Community
1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership
are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use
their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of
membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious
2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their
members, who actively participate in setting their policies
and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives
are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives,
members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and
co-operatives at other levels are organized in a democratic
3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control,
the capital of their co-operatives. At least part of that
capital is usually the common property of the co-operatives.
They usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital
subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate
surpluses for any or all of the following purposes:
the co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part
of which at least would be indivisible;
benefiting members in proportion to their transactions
with the co-operatives;
and, supporting other activities approved by the membership.
4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled
by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations,
including governments, or raise capital from external sources,
they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their
members and maintain their co-operative's autonomy.
5th Principle: Education, Training and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members,
elected representatives, managers and employees so they can
contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives.
They inform the general public, particularly young people and
community leaders, about the nature and benefits of co-operation
and membership in the Co-operative.
6th Principle: Co-operation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen
the co-operative movement by working together through local,
national, regional and international structures.
7th Principle: Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, co-operatives work for the sustainable
development of their communities through policies accepted by
their members, as per the Statement of Co-operative Identity
(as stated by the International Cooperative Alliance). The Statement
on Co-operative Identity was adopted at the 1995 General Assembly
of the International Co-operative Alliance, held in Manchester
on the occasion of the Alliance's Centenary. The Statement was
the product of a lengthy process of consultation involving thousands
of co-operatives around the world.
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