Cooperatives worldwide generally operate using the same
principles as adopted in 1995 by the International Cooperative
Alliance. The principles are part of a cooperative statement
of identity which also includes the definition of a cooperative
and a list of cooperative values.
Principals & Values
cooperative 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
are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility,
democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition
of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical
values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring
and Open Membership &emdash; Cooperatives 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 discrimination.
Member Control &emdash; Cooperatives 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 cooperatives, members have equal
voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at
other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
Economic Participation &emdash; Members contribute equitably
to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
At least part of that capital is usually the common property
of the cooperative. 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: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting
up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible;
benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with
the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved
by the membership.
and Independence &emdash; Cooperatives 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 cooperative autonomy.
Training and Information &emdash; Cooperatives provide education
and training for their members, elected representatives,
managers and employees so they can contribute effectively
to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the
general public &emdash; particularly young people and opinion
leaders &emdash; about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
among Cooperatives &emdash; Cooperatives serve their members
most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement
by working together through local, national, regional and
for Community &emdash; While focusing on member needs, cooperatives
work for the sustainable development of their communities
through policies accepted by their members.