Co-ops Reflect Earth Charter Values
by John Gibson
The Indiana Cooperative Development Center (ICDC) and the Mid America Cooperative Council (MACC) are celebrating Cooperative Week, October 15-21, along with 40,000 other cooperative businesses serving more than 120 million people nationwide.
Nearly all co-ops adhere to the same seven cooperative principles that have similar (Earth Charter counterparts):
- Voluntary and Open Membership (Promote social and economic justice enabling all to achieve a secure and meaningful livelihood that is ecologically responsible). EC, Principle 3b
- Democratic Member Control (Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice). EC, Principle 13
- Member Equity Participation (Promote the equitable distribution of wealth within and among nations). EC, Principle 10a
- Autonomy and Independent Businesses (Ensure that communities at all levels guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide everyone an opportunity to realize his or her full potential). EC, Principle 3a
- Education, Information, and Training (Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life). EC, Principle 14
- Cooperation among Cooperatives (The partnership of government, civil society, and business is essential for effective governance). EC,The Way Forward
- Concern for Community (Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love). EC, Principle 2
Many thanks to Deb Trocha, Executive Director of the Indiana Cooperative Development Center, and co-op members all over Indiana who promote these important values. Please consider supporting co-op businesses, starting a co-op, or joining a co-op. To learn more about co-ops check out the ICDC website for information about the October 20 seminar on Cooperatives for People of Color and the November 2nd Annual Co-op Summit.