principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their
values into practice.
Co-operatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons
able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities
of membership, without gender, social, racial, political,
or religious discrimination.
Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their
members, who actively participate in setting their policies
and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives
are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives
members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and
co-operatives at other levels are organized in a democratic
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control,
the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital
is usually the common property of the co-operative. They usually
receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed
as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for
any or all of the following purposes: developing the co-operative,
possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would
be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their
transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities
approved by the membership.
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled
by their members. If they enter into agreements with other
organizations, including governments, or raise capital from
external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic
control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members,
elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can
contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives.
They inform the general public -- particularly young people
and opinion leaders -- about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen
the co-operative movement by working together through local,
national, regional, and international structures.
While focusing on member needs, co-operatives work for the
sustainable development of their communities through policies
accepted by their members.
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