OUR PRINCIPLES

Co-ops share vision and culture! Central Co-op is guided by the following twelve principles. The first seven are based on the International Cooperative principles, followed by most co-ops, and the final five were adopted in late 2015.
 

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Central Co-op is a voluntary organization, safe and open to all persons able to use our services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without discrimination based on race, religion, age, social status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Become an owner


2. Democratic Member Governance
We are a democratic organization governed by our members. Representatives are elected to serve the whole membership. All members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).
Read about Central Co-op's governance


3. Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and elected representatives direct, the capital of our cooperative. A portion of that capital is the common property of the cooperative.

Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for developing their cooperative, setting up reserves, benefiting members in proportion to their participation, and supporting other activities approved by the membership. Members are encouraged to patronize and invest in the co-op.
Invest in Preferred Shares


4. Autonomy and Independence
We are an autonomous, self-help organization governed by our members. If we enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, we do so on terms that maintain our cooperative autonomy.
 

5. Education, Training, and Information
We provide education and training for our members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of our cooperative. We proactively inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
Check out our classes


6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
We actively strengthen the cooperative economy locally, regionally, nationally and internationally by working together.
Learn about National Cooperative Grocers and the International Co-op Alliance
 

7. Concern for Community
We support the sustainable development of our communities.
Learn about our programs supporting our community


8. Concern for Ecosystems
Recognizing our dependence on the Earth’s natural systems and resources, we respect animal habitats, human habitats, and the Earth’s biological and physical equilibrium in the course of our activity as a cooperative.
Learn about our programs supporting our ecosystem


9. Concern for Workers
We strive to provide purposeful, dignified employment and to encourage and enable worker participation in the governance and economic success of the co-op. 
Learn about working at Central Co-op


10. Skilled Cooperative Management
Recognizing the need for organizational capacity, we rely upon effective management and accountable empowerment, filtering management decisions through the lens of the cooperative model. We seek opportunities to develop organizational skills and cooperative understanding for the benefit of our business and the cooperative movement.
Read our Annual Report


11. Strategic Leadership
We are committed to cultivating leadership, accountability and trust at all levels. Leaders are tightly aligned on our principles and strategy, while demonstrating individual initiative and a bias for action. They seek diverse perspectives and work to challenge their assumptions.


12. Innovative Culture
We serve our members by fostering a culture of learning, continuous improvement and innovation, to ensure the continued relevance and success of the co-op. We strive to develop and implement new ideas for increasing value and relevance to members.