7 Cooperative Principles
Coop Principle 1
Open and Voluntary Membership
EnerStar is a not-for-profit electric cooperative, a unique business owned and controlled by our member-owners. Cooperatives around the world operate according to a core set of principles. These seven cooperative principles guide the EnerStar board of directors and employees to put the best interests of our members first and foremost.
Coop Principle 2
Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Representatives (directors/trustees) are elected among the membership and are accountable to them. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote); cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
Coop Principle 3
Members’ Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative; setting up reserves; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Coop Principle 4
Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control as well as their unique identity.
Coop Principle 5
Education, Training, and Information
Education and training for members, elected representatives (directors/trustees), CEOs, and employees help them effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives. Communications about the nature and benefits of cooperatives, particularly with the general public and opinion leaders, help boost cooperative understanding.
Coop Principle 6
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
By working together through local, national, regional and international structures, cooperatives improve services, bolster local economies, and deal more effectively with social and community needs.
Coop Principle 7
Concern for Community
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership.