Principles of cooperatives reviewed and adopted at the General Assembly held in Manchester in the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the International Association of Cooperatives (ICA) (1995)

Cooperative principles are the rules that cooperatives take as basis when implementing their own values. These:

Volunteer and public membership

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations that can benefit from their services without discrimination on grounds of sexual, social, racial, political and religious, and are open to all who are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.

Democratic supervision by members

Cooperatives are democratic organizations supervised by members participating in policy-making and decision-making. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to members. In the unit cooperative organizations, members have equal voting rights (one vote per member). In other cooperative organizations, voting rights are regulated by a democratic approach.

Economic participation of members

Members contribute fairly to the capital of their cooperatives and govern it democratically. At least a part of this capital is usually the co-ownership of the cooperative. In most cases, members receive a limited amount of income on capital, as promised as a condition of membership. Members allocate surplus income for one or all of the purposes, such as developing co-operatives, possibly by creating lar at least some of the non-distributable resources,, earning profits to their members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative, and supporting other activities approved by members.

Autonomy and independence

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-sufficient and managed by their members. When cooperatives enter into an agreement with other organizations, including governments, or increase their capital through external resources, they do so in order to maintain the autonomy of the cooperatives and to preserve the democratic management of their members.

Education, training and information

Cooperatives provide their members, elected representatives, managers and employees with education and training opportunities to effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives. The cooperatives inform the general public – especially young people and the general public – about the form and benefit of cooperation.

Cooperation between cooperatives

Cooperatives cooperate with local, national, regional and international organizations to serve their members more effectively and strengthen the cooperatives movement.

Being responsible to society

Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

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