Mission & Values

The main mission of CICOPA is to promote and represent workers’, social and producers’ cooperatives at the world level.

Our main policy priority is the promotion of:

  • work and production in a cooperative way
  • worker ownership as a specific type of enterprise and labour organisation
  • the cooperative movement in industrial, craft and service sectors

On this basis, CICOPA focuses on:

  • ensuring the widest possible representation of national organisations around the world in its sector
  • lobbying, especially in the field of specific workers’ and producers’ cooperative legislation and policies
  • promoting the development of workers’ and producers’ cooperatives and their representative / support organisations at the national and regional level
  • gathering information and gradually mapping the situation of workers’ and producers’ cooperatives
  • ensuring a flow of information and stimulate debates among its members

Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

The cooperative principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
    Cooperatives are voluntary organisations, 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.
  2. Democratic Member Control
    Cooperatives 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 cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.
  3. Member Economic Participation
    Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. 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 cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
  4. Autonomy and Independence
    Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
  5. Education, Training and Information
    Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
    Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
  7. Concern for Community
    Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.