The Cooperative Advantage
Cooperative businesses are special because they are owned by the consumers they serve and because they are guided by a set of seven principles that reflect the best interests of those consumers.
Voluntary and Open Membership
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.
Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The board of trustees is elected by and accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).
Members’ Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. They do not issue stock. Surpluses are margins, not profits. Margins in excess of any amounts needed to operate the cooperative are allocated to members’ capital credit accounts.
Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are not governmental organizations. They are privately owned, autonomous corporations controlled by their members.
Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, board of trustees, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.