Global Co-operative Bodies
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Co-operatives are social enterprises formed by members, for members, for good.

Co-operatives range in size – from humble store-fronts to large Fortune 500 companies. In fact, the Co-operatives can be found in all traditional economic sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, consumer and financial services, housing, and production (workers' co-operatives).

While similar in many ways to any other enterprise, Co-operatives are unique in ways that truly matter to society and to the members they serve.

  • Ownership:

    Co-operatives are owned and democratically controlled by their members-the people / co-operative institutions who use the co-op’s services or buy its goods-not by outside investors; Co-op members elect their board of directors from within the membership.
  • Dividends:

    Return surplus revenues (income over expenses and investment) to members proportionate to their use of the Co-operative, not proportionate to their "investment" or ownership share.
  • Social Impact:

    Are motivated not by profit, but by the purpose of meeting their members’ collective needs with affordable and high quality goods or services, and aspiring to satisfy the social needs of the broader community.
  • Mutual Help:

    Singapore-based Co-operatives contribute levies (not taxes) to the Central Co-operative Fund, which resources are used for the development and promotion of Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, and Co-operatives in need.

Co-operative Principles

The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) has established seven Principles that define co-ops as part of the Statement on the Co-operative Identity.

1.   Voluntary & Open Membership

Co-operatives 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

Co-operatives 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 Co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.

3.   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 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.

4.   Autonomy & Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter to 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 co-operative autonomy.

5.   Education, Training & 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 public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6.   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.

7.   Concern for Community

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

News Highlight

SNCF Chairman, Mr Kwek Kok Kwong, elected to Inter...

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