Co-operative enterprises
build a better world

Co-operatives give people a voice


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). Co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

 
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. 
 
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. Democracy inside co-operative enterprises emerges in particular through the application of the principles of Democratic Member Control, Voluntary and Open Membership and Member Economic Participation. 
 
Co-operatives act on several levels at a time. These examples show how co-ops bring sustainable, change to the communities that harbour them:
 
  • At a first level, co-operatives contribute to reducing inequality and poverty. Having decent living conditions is a prerequisite to feeling that you are an actor in an effort which requires sacrifices, as will be the case with future climate challenges!
     
  • At a second level, co-ops are schools of democracy. By encouraging people to unite and vote as members on the course of their co-operative, rather than wait for solutions, co-ops foster active citizenship, and "give people a voice".
     
  • At a third level, co-ops have an educational mission, to build the intellectual and professional capacities of their workers/members, and of the communities where they operate.

Co-operatives put their values into practice by operating from the co-operative principles

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
  7. Concern for Community

Explore the co-operative principles here.