Cooperatives businesses are about meeting the needs of people—whether consumers, purchasers, workers or producers. These core values of economic and social development are at the heart of the Seven Cooperative Principles.
That is why that in the United States alone there are 29,000 cooperatives with more than 100 million members! Worldwide more than 1 billion people belong to cooperatives.
Helping People, Building Communities
Cooperative business are unique from other types of commercial enterprises in that they exist to meet the needs of people, not to maximize profit. Around the world, people form cooperatives to better their lives and build more successful enterprises and organizations. A commitment to community is one of the seven cooperative principles and building stronger communities—for the good of all—is at the heart of why people form cooperatives.
One of the most important things about cooperatives is that they can meet peoples' needs when for-profit enterprises are unwilling or unable to do so. The success of cooperatives around the world in providing for these needs takes many forms—from an electric cooperative in a remote area of the Philippines... to a coffee-growers' cooperative in Central America... to a food co-op in a US city... to a group of small businesses that pool their purchasing power.
Leaders in Economic and Social Development
The International Co-operative Alliance explains the core values of cooperatives and why they are vital to economic and social development around the globe:
- "Co-operatives are enterprises that put people at the centre of their business and not capital.
- "Co-operatives are business enterprises and thus can be defined in terms of three basic interests: ownership, control, and beneficiary. Only in the co-operative enterprise are all three interests vested directly in the hands of the user.
- "Co-operatives put people at the heart of all their business. They follow a broader set of values than those associated purely with making a profit.
- "Because co-operatives are owned and democratically-controlled by their members (individuals or groups and even capital enterprises) the decisions taken by co-operatives balance the need for profitability with the needs of their members and the wider interests of the community."
This is why “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World.”
- What is IYC?
- Be Part of It!
- What is a Co-op?
- Co-ops in the USA