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The 7 Cooperative Principles

The 7 Cooperative Principles

Cooperatives around the world generally operate according to the same core principles and values, adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance in 1995. Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England in 1844.

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The 7 Cooperative Principles

1. Voluntary & Open Membership

Anyone can join a co-op—they don’t discriminate based on gender, social, racial, political or religious factors.

2. Democratic Member Control

Members control their business by deciding how it’s run and who leads it.

3. Members' Economic Participation

All co-op members invest in their cooperative. This means people, not shareholders, benefit from a co-op’s profits.

4. Autonomy & Independence

When making business deals or raising money, co-ops never compromise their autonomy or democratic member control.

5. Education, Training and Information

Co-ops provide education, training and information so their members can contribute effectively to the success of their co-op.

6. Cooperation among Cooperatives

Co-ops believe working together is the best strategy to empower their members and build a stronger co-op economy.

7. Concern for Community

Co-ops are community-minded. They contribute to the sustainable development of their communities by sourcing and investing locally.