1) Voluntary and Open Membership
Membership of a Co-operative is voluntary – you can’t be forced into joining, nor can you be excluded because of discrimination.
2) Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations – they’re controlled only by their members. Members should have democratic control (ie consensus or “one member, one vote”).
3) Member Economic Participation
Members have a fair stake in the co-op, and unlike share capital in a normal company, the stake should only have a nominal return (e.g. so that it doesn’t lose its value due to inflation). This capital can be used as the members decide.
4) Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations. They are controlled only by their members. They shouldn’t make agreements or contracts that would compromise their autonomy or the democratic control by members.
5) Education, Training and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members. This is to ensure the development of the co-operative.
Co-ops should also provide education and information to the general public to inform them about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
6) Co-operation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together. This can be done through local, national, regional and international structures.
7) Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.