7 Cooperative Principles

The cooperative principles are a set of guidelines that define the values and operating principles of cooperative organizations. These principles were established by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and are widely recognized and followed by cooperatives worldwide.

The 7 cooperative principles are as follows:

Voluntary & Open Membership

Cooperatives are open to all individuals who are willing to use their services and accept the responsibilities of membership without any form of discrimination.

Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members. Each member has equal voting rights, and decisions are made on a “one member, one vote” basis, ensuring that the organization is governed according to the interests of the members.

Members’ Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to the capital of the cooperative and democratically control its allocation. Surpluses generated by the cooperative are used to provide benefits to members, such as reinvestment in the cooperative, development of services, or distribution of dividends.

Autonomy & Independence

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations that are controlled by their members. They have the freedom to make decisions in their best interests, free from external influence or control.

Education, Training & Information

Cooperatives provide education and training to their members, employees, and the wider community. They strive to ensure that everyone has access to the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively participate in the cooperative and contribute to its development.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Cooperatives actively cooperate with one another at the local, regional, national, and international levels. By working together, cooperatives can enhance their services, strengthen the cooperative movement, and promote the interests of their members.

Concern for Community

Cooperatives are committed to the sustainable development of their communities. They work for the well-being of their members and the wider community by actively participating in community development initiatives and addressing local needs.

These 7 principles provide a framework for cooperatives to operate in a fair, democratic, and socially responsible manner, ensuring that they remain true to their cooperative values and serve the best interests of their members and communities.