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Seven Cooperative Principles

  1. Voluntary, Open Ownership
    Open to all without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination. You may shop, you may join, and you may leave the co-op at any time.
  2. Democratic Owner Control
    One Owner, one vote. Your voice will be heard.
  3. Owner Economic Participation
    Owners contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. The economic benefits of a cooperative operation are returned to the Owners, reinvested in the co-op, or used to provide Owner services. You control the capital.
  4. Autonomy And Independence
    Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their Owners. Together, you are autonomous. 
  5. Education, Training And Information
    Cooperatives provide education and training for Owners so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation. You can develop yourself into the consumer you want to be. 
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
    Cooperatives serve their Owners most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, regional, national and international structures. You are more successful when you cooperate with others who know how to cooperate. 
  7. Concern For The Community
    While focusing on Owner needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their Owners. You can do something for the community even as you keep succeeding. 

Definition of a Cooperative

A cooperative (or co-op) is a business operated and democratically controlled by its membership of Owners to meet their common needs and aspirations. Co-ops are guided by the seven principles. 

Cooperatives operate according to seven basic principles. Six were drafted by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) in 1966, based on guidelines written by the founders of the modern cooperative movement in England in 1844. In 1995, the ICA restated, expanded and adopted the 1966 principles to guide cooperative organizations into the 21st Century.