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Co-operative principles

Co-operatives subscribe to the seven international principles of co-operation. The principles are guidelines that make sure the organisation runs efficiently and for the benefit of its members.

The principles are:

Voluntary and open membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations.  They are open to all who are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without discrimination.

Democratic membership control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members.  Members actively participate in the setting of policies and decision-making. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).

Member economic participation

Members contribute equally to the funds of the Co-operative and control the allocation of surplus funds.

Autonomy and independence

Co-operatives are independent organisations controlled by their members. Any agreements entered into with other organisations must ensure democratic control by members and the Co-operative’s independence.

Education, training and information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees.  This enables them to contribute effectively to the development of their Co-operative. They inform the public about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

Co-operation among co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the Co-operative movement by working together.

Concern for community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

Updated: 02 Jun 2020

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