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Seven Cooperative Principles

Co-ops are rooted in values similar to those many of us subscribe to personally, including self-responsibility, democracy, equality, honesty, and social responsibility. In addition to these values, co-ops around the world look to seven internationally recognized principles to guide them. 

One: Voluntary & Open Membership

Co-ops are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept responsibilities of ownership, without discrimination.

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Two: Democratic Member Control

Co-ops are democratic organizations controlled by their owners, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Every owner account receives one vote in co-op elections.

Three: Members' Economic Participation

Owners contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-op.

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Four: Autonomy & Independence

Co-ops are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their owners.

Five: Education, Training, & Information

Co-ops provide education and training for their owners, board members, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-op.

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Six: Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Co-ops serve their owners most effectively and strengthen the Cooperative Movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

Seven: Concern for Community

Co-ops work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their owners.

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