From the outside a co-op may look like any other business – it’s what happens inside that makes them different. All co-ops are based on the same principles and they share a set of values.
There are seven co-operative principles that define how a co-op operates:
A co-op is owned and controlled by its members. It exists for the benefit of its members, who may be customers, workers, suppliers or the wider community.
A co-op is democratic – this means every member has an equal say in how it’s run and how profits are used.
Every member contributes financially in some way – from buying products, working for the co-op, investing in it or deciding how to spend its profits.
A co-op is an independent business, owned and controlled by its members.
It offers education and training to everyone involved, so they can develop the co-op and promote the benefits of co-operation.
It co-operates, works with and supports other co-ops.
A co-op supports the communities it works with.
The co-operative values
There are 10 values that all co-ops are based on
- Caring for others
- Self help
- Self responsibility
- Social responsibility