The Co-operative Group Values and Principles

At The Co-operative we encourage new ideas to tackle issues that are important to our members – from helping the community to changing the world.

Membership is open to everyone as long as they share our values and principles. Our members show these values by working together for everyone’s benefit, and are encouraged to play a full part in the community.

Here are our underlying values and principles which influence The Co-operative Membership and the way we run all of our businesses: 


Our co-operative values

  • Self-help  –  we help people to help themselves
  • Self-responsibility  –  we take responsibility for, and answer to our actions
  • Democracy  –  we give our members a say in the way we run our businesses
  • Equality  –  no matter how much money a member invests in their share account, they still have one vote
  • Equity –  we carry out our business in a way that is fair and unbiased
  • Solidarity  –  we share interests and common purposes with our members and other
    co-operatives.

Our ethical values

  • Openness  –  nobody’s perfect, and we won’t hide it when we’re not
  • Honesty  –  we are honest about what we do and the way we do it
  • Social responsibility  –  we encourage people to take responsibility for their own community, and work together to improve it
  • Caring for others  –  we regularly fund charities and local community groups from the profits of our businesses.

Our principles are the way we put our values into action

  • Voluntary and open membership  –  membership is open to everyone
  • Democratic member control  –  all members have an equal voice in making policies and electing representatives
  • Member economic participation  –  all profits are controlled democratically by members and for their benefit
  • Autonomy and independence  –  co-operatives are always independent, even when they enter into agreements with the Government and other organisations
  • Education, training and information  –  co-operatives educate and develop their members as well as their staff
  • Co-operation amongst co-operatives  –  co-operatives work together with other co‑operatives to strengthen the co-operative movement as a whole
  • Concern for community  –  co-operatives also work to improve and develop the community, both locally and internationally.