The marketplace for ‘social’ or ‘ethical’ business is a crowded one. Investor- or shareholder-owned businesses are re-branding themselves through ‘corporate social responsibility’ campaigns and programmes, for example. Co-operatives don’t simply appear different, thanks to an image makeover – they fundamentally are different. The abiding values of participation and sustainability are not just bolted on, but rather structure how co-operatives are owned, governed, managed, and evaluated.

Co-operatives have an internationally agreed definition and code of ethics: the Co-operative Values and Principles. The Values and Principles guide how co-operatives behave
and operate

Elements of the co-operative identity 

The Alliance is engaged in bolstering the tools co-operatives can use to expand the
co-operative message and secure the co-operative identity. Learn more about the history of the co-operative identity.

  • The Guidance Notes on the Co-operative Principles help bring the Co-operative Principles of 1995 into contemporary terms. Read more and participate in the consultation (open until August 2015).
  • The Co-operative Marque and .coop internet domain are the symbols of the global
    co-op movement and of our collective identity. Together, these tools demonstrate our unity of purpose on and offline. Learn more.

Do you know of a resource not included here? If so, please write to Hanan El-Youssef, Strategy Manager.


Alliance involvement:

Principles Committee


16 Dec 2018

Dear cooperative friends,

We've come to the end…

04 Dec 2018

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21 Dec 2018

2018 has been a year of many cooperative celebrations…