The 7 Cooperative Principles

The consumer-owned cooperative business model is based on 7 cooperative principles established in 1844 in Rochdale, England.

  1. Open & Voluntary Membership

    Cooperatives are voluntary organizations open to all who are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without regard to gender, social, racial, political, or religious affiliation.

  2. Democratic Member Control

    Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Elected representatives are accountable to the membership.

  3. Members’ Economic Participation

    Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for developing the cooperative.

  4. Autonomy & Independence

    Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations. If they enter into agreements, they do so on terms that ensure that they maintain cooperative autonomy.

  5. Education, Training, & Information

    Cooperatives provide education and training for their elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative.

  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives

    Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.

  7. Concern for Community

    While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.