The Seven Co-op Principles :: Cooperation in Motion
Cooperative Enterprises Build A Better World
Basics Natural Foods legally became a member-owned Cooperative in 2005. During Co-op Month this October, we celebrate all that it means to operate according to this unique and special business model!
Basics Co-op adheres to the following 7 principles, observed by Cooperatives all over the world:
It’s the principle of the thing
These are exciting times for the Co-op! These are the seven internationally recognized cooperative principles, guides that cooperatives across the world voluntarily follow:
Voluntary and Open Membership
Definition: Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
Definition: Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. One member, one vote. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
Member Economic Participation
Definition: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. They usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Autonomy and Independence:
Definition: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
Education, Training and Information
Definition: Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public — particularly young people and opinion leaders — about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Definition: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
Concern for Community
Definition: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.