The co-operative movement is based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.
These were the values identified by the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844. When you read their story, you realise how important each value was to the success of that first co-operative.
The values are important to us because they define our common ground. You might think of them as the essence of the organisation that is our community farm. They are the reasons we as individuals have joined up as members to do something positive together. They are also there in the background whenever we make decisions, helping us choose what to do.
Here are a few words to explain each value:
- Self-help – believing that we can improve things for ourselves by working together
- Self-responsibility – taking responsibly for our own actions and involvement
- Democracy – all members having a say in the way we run the farm: “one member – one vote”
- Equality – equal rights and benefits for all members
- Equity – trying to understand and allow for each other’s different needs, and so be fair to all
- Solidarity – supporting each other and other co-operatives
The Rochdale Pioneers were also united in their belief in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Ethics are the ways you can expect an organisation to treat people. So you should find in your dealings with the farm that we are honest with you, we are open with you, we act for the benefit of society as a whole and we care for others.
There is a global organisation for co-operatives, with further info about principles and values, the International Cooperative Alliance.