Home Definition & Principles


ICA General Assembly held on 23rd September, 1995 at New Century Hall Manchester, adopted the new Co-operative Principles recommended by the ICA Board of Directors and the ICA Congress after global study and review by committee headed by Prof. Lan Mcpherson from Canada.

The Process started with a paper presented by lars Marcus, then President of the ICA, at the congress held in 1988 at Stockholm. Seven Ake Book, a co-operative specialist from Sweden was called upon to undertake a research in to co-operative values; and the principles in the context of modern global environment of co-operatives. He presented his report in 1992 ICA Congress in Tokiyo the General Assembly appointed a committee, headed by Prof. Lan Mcpherson review of the co-operative principles.


A Co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarly to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises”


Co-operative are based on the self-help responsibility, democracy, equity and solidarity. In the tredition of their founders, Co-operative members belive in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.


The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operative put their value in the practice.

First principle: Voluntary and open membership:

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all person able to use their service and willing the accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

Second Principle:Democratic member control

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-operative, members have equal voting rights. (one member, one vote) and co-operative at other levels are also organised in democratic manner.

Third Principle:Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. A least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operatives. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any on capitals subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any of the following purposes; developing their co-operative, possible by setting up reserves, part which at least would be indivisible, benefitting members in proportion to their transaction with the co-operative and sopporting other activities approved by the membership.

Fourth Principles: Automony And Indipendence

Co-operative and automonus, self help organisation controlled by their members, if they entire in agreement with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic cotrolle by their members and maintain their co-operative automony.

Fifth Principle: Education Training And Information

Co-operative provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees and can contribute deffectively to development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public particularly young people and openion leaders about the nature and benefit of co-operation.

Sixth Principle:Co-Operation Among Co-Operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movements by working together through local, regional, national and international structure.

Seventh Principle: Concern For Community

Co-operative work for substainable development of their communities through polices approved by their members.



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