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Saskatchewan Co-operative Association
Feb 10

All co-operatives share a common set of values and principles. 

Cooperatives are based on the values of self-helpself-responsibilitydemocracyequalityequity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

The seven international co-operative principles are guidelines by which every co-op in the world put its values into practise.

  • Voluntary and Open Membership: Co-operatives are open to everyone who wants to join, as long as are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership – which are different for every co-op.
  • Democratic Member Control: Co-operatives are controlled by their members who actively participate in making decisions. Co-ops make decisions based on “one member, one vote”.
  • Member Economic Participation: Members contribute money to the co-op and also make decisions about how the money within the co-op is used. Sometimes profits are used to make the co-op better, sometimes the profits are given back to the members (based on how much they have used the co-op), and sometimes profits are used for other things that the members decide on.
  • Autonomy and Independence: Co-ops are controlled and led by their members. If they work with others, including governments, they only do it if their co-op is still controlled by their members.
  • Education, Training and Information: Co-ops provide education and training for their members, Board of Directors, and employees. They tell people - especially young people - about co-ops and what co-ops do.
  • Co-operation among Co-operatives: Co-ops work together and support each other.
  • Concern for Community: Co-ops do things to build and support their communities, in ways their members think important.

Adapted from the statement on the Co-operative Identity, Adopted in Manchester (UK), 23 September 1995

To download a series of posters about the co-op principles, click HERE