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.