It may seem like the soft side of business, but values are at the heart of every example of co-operative excellence – and core to the advisory work of Co-operatives UK.
The International Co-operative Alliance has codified 10 values – six co-operative and four ethical. The co-operative values – self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity – describe the design of the business. The ethical values – honesty, openness, social responsibility, caring for others – describe its operation.
Alongside these are seven principles – three on how co-op ownership should be structured, three on co-op culture and one on the independence of the business as a democratic enterprise. As Sion Whellens of Calverts Worker Co-op says, while the structure and independence of ownership makes you a co-op, it is your commitment to co-operative culture that makes you part of the wider co-op movement.
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