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Seven Cooperative Principles

All cooperatives are organized under a set of guiding principles which ensures that they are dedicated to their communities and committed to their member owners.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The co-op rule is one vote per member.

3. Members’ Economic Participation

Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the transactions with the cooperative rather than the capital invested.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintain the cooperative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information

Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.

6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

While focusing on member needs, Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies accepted by their members.