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Co-op principles

On September 23, 1995, the International Co-operative Alliance, the body representing co-operatives around the world, adopted the following guiding principles for co-ops of all kinds.

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Co-ops are open without exception to anyone who needs their services and freely accepts the obligations of membership.
Co-ops are controlled by their members, who together set policy, make decisions and elect leaders who report to them. In primary co-ops each member has one vote.
All members contribute fairly to their co-ops, which they own in common. Co-ops pay a limited return (if any) on money people have to invest to become members. Surpluses are held for the future and used to improve the co-op’s services.
All agreements co-ops sign with outside organizations or governments should leave the members in control of the co-op.
Co-ops offer training to their members, directors and staff. Co-ops tell the public what they are and what they do.
Co-ops work together through local, national and international structures to serve their members.
Co-ops meet members’ needs in ways that build lasting communities within and beyond each co-op.