What's a Co-op?
A co-op is a business owned by people who pool their resources together to meet their common needs and operate for the benefit of their members, or owners. Cooperatives are for-profit businesses, driven by the needs of their owners.
Cooperative businesses provide goods and services in a way that keeps the community resources in the community.
YRGC is a consumer cooperative, which means our ownership is made up of the people who shop in our store. There are other types of cooperatives, including worker cooperatives, housing co-ops, and credit unions, but all co-ops adhere to seven cooperative principles that were established by the International Cooperative Alliance. They help remind us who we are and what we are here to do.
1. Voluntary & Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their member,s how actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).
3. Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.
4. Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative's autonomy.
5. Education, Training and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Concern for Community
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.