Co-operative Principles

Across the world, all co-operatives are guided by 7 voluntary, universal co-operative principles. These are central to a co-operatives DNA and help decision makers in a co-op accomplish dual, financial and social, goals:

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
2. Democratic Member Control
3. Member Economic Participation
4. Autonomy and Independence
5. Education, Training and Information
6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
7. Concern for Community

You’re forgiven for thinking “So what?”, so let us put translate these principles into everyday language:

1. Everyone is Welcome!
2. Members elect the board of directors
3. Each member owns the business
4. No corporate control
5. Share, learn and grow
6. Together we achieve more
7. Building strong communities

To learn more or to understand how to apply these principles at your co-operative, download the International Co-operative Association’s Guidance Notes on the Cooperative Principles (.pdf).

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The Story of the Rochdale Pioneers

Co-ops first started in Rochdale - a small mill town in the north west of England, not far from Manchester. Check out this video on how the co-operative principles and global co-operative movement got started:


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