Co-operatives put their values into practice through a set of seven principles:
Voluntary and open membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations open to anyone able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership without any form of discrimination.
Democratic member control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations owned and controlled by their members who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Anyone elected to a particular role is accountable to the wider membership.
Member economic participation
Members contribute to and control the capital of their co-operative in an equitable and democratic manner. Members determine how any surplus is allocated.
Autonomy and independence
Co-operatives are autonomous self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, or raise their capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their independence. They should be free of any government control.
Education, training, and information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They also inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
Co-operation among co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
Concern for community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.