The Rochdale Principles of Co-operation
The Co-op Mission Statement
Our Mission is to be a thriving co-operative community of students that provides:
- Good, quality, affordable housing
- A positive living environment
- Education of its members in the democratic running of our membership
We also help build the co-operative movement by educating our members and the general public about its principles and philosophy.
The Co-op Flag
The Co-operative Rainbow Flag includes all the colours of the flags of the world. Each colour contributes to the whole and symbolizes harmony and universal unity of all people.
- Red - Represents the courage to stand together.
- Orange - Represents hope and offers the vision of possibilities.
- Yellow - Represents warmth, friendship and concern for others. It also represents the challenge that green has kindled.
- Green - Indicates a challenge to strive for growth in co-operatives and individual members as we learn more about ourselves and others.
- Sky Blue - Represents unlimited horizons and possibilities and the need to provide education and help the less fortunate. It also represents unity with all peoples of the world.
- Dark Blue - Represents hard work and perseverance - the challenge of working together to achieve our goals of harmony, equality and economic efficiency. It also represents the less fortunate who can learn to help themselves through co-operation.
- Violet - Represents warmth, beauty, friendship and respect for others.
Source: Waterloo Co-operative Residence Inc. http://www.wcri.coop
In 1844, the original pioneers of the co-operative movement, the Rochdale Pioneers, created a set of ten co-operative principles, known as the ‘Rochdale Principles’. These principles were intended to guide the activity of co-operatives throughout the world. In 1966, the International Co-operative Alliance modified the original ten principles, identifying six central co-operative principles. In 1995, the 1966 effort was amended to include a statement about co-operative values and a seventh principle – concern for community.
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others. The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.
1st Principle – Voluntary and 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.
2nd Principle – 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.
3rd Principle – 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 setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative, and supporting activities approved by the membership.
4th Principle – Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives 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 co-operative autonomy.
5th Principle – 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 general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
6th Principle – 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.
7th Principle – Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.