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Cooperation

La Coop fédérée is part of a major global cooperative movement. Cooperation is not a marginal phenomenon. Over one billion people—one in six people worldwide—are members of the nearly 2.6 million cooperatives around the world! Sales of the 300 largest cooperatives and mutuals total USD 2.2 billion.

Moreover, cooperatives employ 280 million people worldwide, or 10% of the global labour force, and generate USD 2.1 trillion in sales while providing the services and infrastructure society needs to thrive.

La Coop fédérée is proud to contribute to sustainable economic development and provide stable, quality jobs.

The cooperative identity

In 1844, the founders of the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, the model for today’s cooperatives, designed the principles that define the particular function of cooperative enterprises. They were called the cooperative principles.

These principles were enshrined in practice as the real indicators of cooperative authenticity.

The creation of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in 1895 equipped the cooperative movement with an organization that would be the guardian of the cooperative principles. The ICA periodically reviews the principles to ensure they remain current.

The most recent review took place on the ICA’s centennial. This is the wording of what is now called the Statement on the Cooperative Identity, adopted at the ICA general meeting following the Manchester Congress on September 23, 1995.

Definition

A cooperative 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.

Cooperative values

Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.

OUR COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLES

VOLUNTARY AND OPEN MEMBERSHIP

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.

 

DEMOCRATIC MEMBER CONTROL

Cooperatives are democratic organizations 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 cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote), and cooperatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.

 

MEMBER ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION

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. Members 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 their cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

AUTONOMY AND INDEPENDENCE

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

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

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.