Cooperative Values: ICA Core Values of Cooperation
Cooperative Values ICA Core Values of CooperationJo B. BitonioPresenterCooperative Trainers Training, Lingayen, PangasinanAug. 29-31,2012)
Much of the cooperative conceptsset by the intellectual thinkers of theCooperative Movement have beenconcerned with values and ethics.
Values remain to be the cornerstone of acooperative and without these theCooperative Movement would simply notexist. The possession of deeply felt valuesand ethics are what make committedcooperators different from theircounterparts in all other types of businessenterprises.
Traditionally, the Cooperative Movement hashad deep ties to the wide array of the world’sreligions and ideologies. It has consciously andcontinuously explored its own belief systemand attempted to identify those personalvalues and ethics that are shared bycooperators which motivate its future actions.
In its background paper on the Statementof Identity, ICA explains, “Any discussion ofvalues within cooperatives must inevitablyinvolve deeply-felt concerns aboutappropriate ethical behavior. Achieving aconsensus on the essential cooperative valueswithin a rich array of belief systems is acomplex but rewarding task.” (ICA,1995)
Governance by Values and Ethics The newest versions ofvalues, as propounded byICA are as follows: self- help,self-responsibility,democracy, equality, equityand solidarity.
Self-helpis based on the belief that all people can and should strive to control their own destiny. Full individual development can take place only in association with others. Through joint action Ethics and mutual responsibility, one can achieve more, by increasing one’s collective influence in the market and before governments.
Self-ResponsibilitySelf-responsibility means that members assume responsibility for their cooperative, for its establishment and its continuing vitality. Members are responsible for ensuring that their cooperative remains independent from other public and private organizations.
Equalitymeans that the basic unit of the cooperative is the member who is either a human being or grouping of human beings. Members have rights of participation, a right to be informed, a right to be heard, and a right to be involved in making decisions. Members should associate in a way that is as equal as possible, one that is a continuing challenge for all cooperatives.
EquityEquity is a never ending challenge since this refers to how members are treated within the cooperative. Members should be treated equitably in how they are rewarded, normally through their patronage dividends, allocations to capital reserve in their name or reductions in charges.
SolidaritySolidarity ensures that cooperative action is not just a disguised form of limited self interest, that cooperative is more than just an association of members, but affirmation of collective strength and mutual responsibility.
EthicsEthics are concerned with honesty, openness, and social responsibility and caring for others
Concluding StatementMembers have the responsibility to ensure that all members are treated as fairly as possible; the general interest is always kept in mind; that there is a consistent effort to deal fairly with employees as well as with non-members associated with the cooperative. It also means that cooperatives must stand together and inspire to the creation of a united coop movement locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. Solidarity is the very cause and consequence of self- help and mutual help and a philosophy which distinguishes coops from other forms of economic organizations.