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7 Principles of a Co-op

Frontier Co-op was founded as a cooperative in 1976, and we're still a co-op today — owned by the stores and other members who resell our products.

As a cooperative, we champion co-op values — an approach to business that reflects a commitment to improve social, economic and environmental conditions in the world.

In 1844, an early cooperative called the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers developed the Rochdale Principles — a set of seven principles that remain to this day the guidelines by which co-op values are put into practice.


Here are the 7 Co-op Principles, as updated in 1966 by the International Cooperative Alliance, and a note on how Frontier Co-op honors each:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership Frontier Co-op is a voluntary organization, with an open membership free of any gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  2. Democratic Member Control Frontier Co-op is controlled by its members through elected representatives elected by (on a one-member, one-vote basis) and accountable to the membership.
  3. Member Economic Participation Owned by its members, Frontier Co-op returns its profits equitaby to members — as a percent of their total purchases during the year in which the profit was earned.
  4. Autonomy and Independence Any agreements with other organizations or capital arrangements from external sources made by Frontier Co-op are done in a way that ensures the continued democratic control of the cooperative by its members.
  5. Education, Training and Information Frontier Co-op provides education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative. The cooperative also informs the general public about the nature and benefits of co-ops.
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives Frontier Co-op works with local, national, regional and international organizations, — including small farmer co-ops supplying our products — to strengthen and expand the cooperative community.
  7. Concern for Community Frontier Co-op actively supports the sustainable development of communities — locally and around the world — with which we are involved. We give back over 4% of pre-tax profit to fund organizations and projects that help these communities.

Being a member-owner of Frontier Co-op means being a part of a business that upholds and puts into action the 7 Cooperative Principles and other sustainable co-op values. It means being a part of a business that serves you as a member — and all the other people and communities the co-op is involved with — with integrity and fairness.