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.
We shared a commitment to be a co-op. We wanted to do this together - in the truest meaning of the word.
– Steven Flower, Open Data Services
Illustration a co-operative world
Spread the word
Our colourful posters illustrate the co-operative values and principles
The co-operative values
There are 10 values that all co-ops are based on
- Caring for others
- Self help
- Self responsibility
- Social responsibility
Internationally agreed values and principles
Co-operatives are found all over the world, and sign-up to an internationally agreed definition.
Read our handy guide, which explains in simple terms what a co‑op is (and why they're so great).
Co-ops across the world are based on shared values and principles. These colourful posters are a great reminder.
From different locations across the UK a small number of analysts and IT professionals discuss their work to help tackle corruption and tax evasion - to create transparency around the awarding of…
Spread the word about co-ops in your workplace or community, using our What is a Co-op slides
The modern day co-op movement was founded in Rochdale, Lancashire in 1844. Since then, the co-operative model has spread across the world, impacting on the lives of over a billion people.