Principle 6 Initiative

As cooperative enterprises across the U.S. work to grow their businesses and impact their communities, they should consider an underutilized strategy: cooperating with other cooperatives.

A new project, called the Principle 6 (P6) Initiative, will identify and scale local, regional and national opportunities for cooperatives to work together across sectors, acting on the 6th Cooperative Principle, or “cooperation among cooperatives.” Led by the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA), the P6 Initiative seeks to capture the potential cooperatives have as a network of vital and inclusive community institutions.

“As the national association for cooperative enterprises in the U.S., NCBA CLUSA is uniquely positioned to bring co-ops together to accelerate their growth and impact—whether through advocacy, innovation, cross-marketing or community projects,” said Doug O’Brien, president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. “When talking about growth and impact, co-ops need to consider their entire community; that’s why diversity and inclusiveness will be essential to these efforts.”

With 65,000+ cooperative establishments in the country, there is incredible potential to work together to elevate the cooperative identity and demonstrate its value to members and communities.

Read the full press release    Share an example of P6 in action


NCBA CLUSA and the National Cooperative Bank recently co-hosted a virtual Co-op Capital Dialogue, an intimate gathering of cooperative leaders who discussed the current state of co-op capital-sourcing initiatives, and a continuation of NCBA CLUSA’s Principle 6 (P6) project. This event served as an opportunity to explore the feasibility of creating a central facility that could leverage our collective influence within and outside of the co-op system.

See the presentations

Example 1: Northwest Cooperative Development Center


Located in Olympia, Washington, the Northwest Cooperative Development Center The Northwest Cooperative Development Center is devoted to assisting new and existing cooperative businesses in every sector with a special emphasis on Resident Owned Communities, home care agencies, and converting existing businesses into worker-owned or community-owned cooperatives.

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Example 2: Cooperative Council of North Carolina


The Cooperative Council of North Carolina (CCNC) is an association of cooperatives from the financial, agriculture, rural electric, food and worker co-op sectors. CCNC provides four main P6 events throughout the year including the Cooperative Leadership Camp, a premier event creating awareness of the cooperative business model.

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Example 3: Cooperative Network


Cooperative Network is one of the largest statewide cross-sector co-op trade associations in the U.S., representing a diverse and active group of members. It is the only organization solely focused on advocating for cooperatives of all types in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Today, the Cooperative Network has 225 co-op members from 12 sectors.

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Example 4: Fredericksburg Food Co-op


Fredericksburg Food Co-op opened in 2021 to provide much-needed grocery options in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The new food co-op has become a center of gravity for local cross-sector collaboration in Fredericksburg.

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While you’re thinking about “cooperation among cooperatives,” take a moment to consider how you and your cooperative practice this principle. NCBA CLUSA is on a mission to document Principle 6 collaborations across the country so we can identify trends, document best practices and share this knowledge with you—our fellow cooperators!

Share your example of Principle 6