A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. Managed by producers, users or workers, cooperatives are run according to the ‘one member, one vote’ rule.
Cooperatives follow democratic, participatory and transparent decision making processes and organizational structures so that their members and users (i.e. owners, workers and consumers) are directly responsible for benefiting themselves and the society in general.
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, mutual help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, Training and Information
- Co-operation among co-operatives
- Concern for community