Statement on the Co-operative Identity

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This document has been made available in electronic format
     by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA
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                     January 1996


         The International Co-operative Alliance

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         Statement on the Co-operative Identity
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Definition
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-controlled enterprise.

Values
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibilit ,
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.

Principles
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 also organised in
a democratic manner.

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. Members usually receive limited compensation,
if any, on capital Ed: check origin of this text "subscribed as a condition
of membership.  Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following
purposes: developing their 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 autonomy.

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
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities
through policies approved by their members.

Rev. 23/9/95