The Seven Cooperative Principles
TEC is built upon a foundation of timeless values
Cooperative business entities around the world adhere to the Seven Cooperative Principles originally formulated in the 1840s in England by the Rochdale weavers' cooperative. The principles have endured to this day and are a testament to the sustainability of the cooperative business model.
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 policies and making decisions. The elected board of directors is accountable to the membership.
Members' 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 allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative; distributing capital credits according to co-ops' individual formulas; and supporting other activities approved by the members.
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.
Concern for Community: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies and activities accepted by their members.