Cooperatives are people-centred
enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members to
realise their common economic, social, and cultural
needs and aspirations.
Cooperatives bring people together in a
democratic and equal way. Whether the members are the customers, employees,
users or residents, cooperatives are democratically managed by the 'one member,
one vote' rule. Members share equal voting rights regardless of the amount of
capital they put into the enterprise.
As businesses driven by values, not just
profit, cooperatives share internationally agreed principles and act together
to build a better world through cooperation. Putting fairness, equality and
social justice at the heart of the enterprise, cooperatives around the world
are allowing people to work together to create sustainable enterprises that
generate long-term jobs and prosperity.
Cooperatives allow people to take control of
their economic future and, because they are not owned by shareholders, the
economic and social benefits of their activity stay in the communities where they
are established. Profits generated are either reinvested in the enterprise or
returned to the members.