(International Cooperative Alliance 1995 version)
In bringing their social vision to life, the Rochdale Pioneers developed specific guidelines for the operation of their co-op. Today we call these guidelines the cooperative principles or Rochdale Principles. Though updated and modified, the principles bear the same social vision of these co-op pioneers. This vision has been shared by the thousands of cooperatives around the world that have adopted these principles as their own.
Voluntary and open membership. Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
Democratic member control. Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.
Member economic participation. Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
Autonomy and independence. Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
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.
Cooperation among cooperatives. Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
Concern for community. While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
See www.ncba.coop/abcoop.cfm to learn more about cooperatives.