Shared values and principles

Cooperatives vary in type, membership size and services, but all are formed to serve their members and are structured around core values and principles adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance. Cooperative values are based on honesty, openness, social responsibility and equality. The following seven principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice.

The seven cooperative principles

Decision-making and elections

Members have the ultimate authority for establishing cooperative policies and making decisions that affect the cooperative. Members can propose ideas and issues to be discussed at cooperative meetings. Policies and decisions are then made through a voting process—each member typically has one vote. Members also elect the cooperative’s board of directors, and any member can nominate a candidate for a director seat.

Learn more about the CHS Board of Directors

Annual meetings

An annual meeting is a legal requirement for cooperatives. The purpose of the annual meeting is to review progress and performance of the cooperative for the past year, elect directors, present bylaw changes, vote on articles of incorporation and review plans for the future. It’s also a place where members can express their views to the board of directors, management and employees.

View highlights from the most recent CHS Annual Meeting

See how cooperatives are impacting the world

Visit the International Cooperative Alliance

Developing future cooperative leaders

The CHS New Leaders Forum provides younger farmers with opportunities to learn about cooperative governance and develop leadership skills.

Learn about CHS New Leaders