7 Cooperative Principles
Voluntary and Open Membership
Membership in cooperatives is voluntary and 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.
Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights - one member, one vote.
Members' Economic Participation
Members democratically control and equally contribute to the capital of their cooperative. Members may allocate surpluses for any of the following purposes: developing the cooperative; setting up reserves; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Automony and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative's autonomy.
Education, Training and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international organizations.
Concern for Community
While focusing on members' needs, cooperatives work to develop their communities by encouraging economic development, promoting education and advocating safe use of electricity.