This document is being made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA).
THE STATEMENT ON THE CO-OPERATIVE IDENTITY
The Statement on Co-operative Identity was adopted
at the 1995 General Assembly of the International
Co-operative Alliance (ICA), held in Manchester on
the occasion of the Alliance's Centenary. The
Statement was the product of a lengthy process of
consultation involving thousands of co-operatives
around the world.
THE INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATIVE ALLIANCE:
STATEMENT ON THE
Adopted in Manchester (UK)
23 September 1995
- A co-operative 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-
- Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-
responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In
the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in
the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility,
and caring for others.
- The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives
put their values into practice.
- 1st PRINCIPLE: VOLUNTARY AND OPEN MEMBERSHIP
- Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, 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.
- 2nd PRINCIPLE: DEMOCRATIC MEMBER CONTROL
- Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their
members, who actively participate in setting their policies and
making decisions. Men and women serving as elected
representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary
co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one
vote) and co-operatives at other levels are organised in a
- 3rd PRINCIPLE MEMBER ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION
- Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the
capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is
usually the common property of the co-operative. 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 co-operative,
possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be
indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their
transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other
activities approved by the membership.
- 4th PRINCIPLE: AUTONOMY AND INDEPENDENCE
- Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled
by their members. If they enter into agreements with other
organisations, including governments, or raise capital from
external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic
control by their members and maintain their co-operative
- 5th PRINCIPLE: EDUCATION, TRAINING AND INFORMATION
- Co-operatives provide education and training for their members,
elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can
contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives.
They inform the general public -- particularly young people and
opinion leaders -- about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
- 6th PRINCIPLE: CO-OPERATION AMONG CO-OPERATIVES
- Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen
the co-operative movement by working together through local,
national, regional, and international structures.
- 7th PRINCIPLE: CONCERN FOR COMMUNITY
- While focusing on member needs, co-operatives work for the
sustainable development of their communities through policies
accepted by their members.
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