Co-operative Principles

These seven principles are used as the basis for cooperatives:

  1. Voluntary and open membership
    Anyone who uses the co-op's services and accepts the responsibilities of membership can join.
  2. Democratic member control
    All members have equal voting rights - one member = 1 vote - members actively participate in making decisions.
  3. Member economic participation
    Members contribute equally to the capital of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for developing the cooperative, benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative, and supporting other activities approved by the members.
  4. Autonomy and independence
    Cooperatives are autonomous organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into a agreements with external sources or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
  5. Education, training and information
    Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees, so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
    Cooperatives work together to serve their members effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement.
  7. Concern for community
    While focusing on member needs, cooperatives must work for the sustainable
    development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.

The cooperative principles were first set out by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in Rochdale, England, in 1844, and have formed the basis for the principles on which co-operatives around the world have operated ever since.

You can read more about the Harbour Co-op's implementation of these principles in "Harbour Co-op Principles".

This information was sourced from: