Exploring What the Cooperative Principles Mean to You

Tuesday | February 16, 2021

These seven principles help guide the operations of all co-ops throughout the world.

Voluntary and Open Membership: Membership in a cooperative is open to all people who can use its services and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, regardless of race, religion, gender, or economic circumstances.

Democratic Member Control: Cooperative consumers, also known as cooperative “members,” own their cooperative and, therefore, can help set policies and make decisions regarding the cooperative.

Members’ Economic Participation: Once expenses are paid and some is saved for contingencies, what remains – known as margins – is returned or credited to the consumers. This return is called a capital credit, and the amount consumers receive is proportional to the electricity consumed.

Autonomy and Independence: Your cooperative is owned by you and other consumers who receive its services, following democratic processes.

Education, Training and Information: Communications about the nature and benefits of cooperatives, particularly with the general public and opinion leaders, help boost cooperative understanding.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives: By working together through local, national, regional and international structures, cooperatives improve services, bolster local economies, and deal more effectively with social and community needs.

Concern for Community: Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership.