In 1994, a set of cooperative principles were agreed upon by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) at a conference in Oslo, Norway. Since then, they have largely been regarded as the standards for the cooperative movement. The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.
1) 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.
2) Democratic Member Control: Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.
3) Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
4) Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
5) Education, Training, and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.
6) Cooperation among Cooperatives: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
7) Concern for Community: Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
Later this week: Rural Nebraska Cooperatives