Sustainable Shopping at Co-ops

Sometimes we want to be absolutely sure that our dollars are being spent toward community investments that truly benefit our environment and our bodies. Be it as simple as purchasing an apple, or enabling others to be part-owner of an ethical, inclusive business, community co-ops do just this! Co-ops share core values that go beyond the standard level of social responsibility. Cooperatives around the world abide by the 7 Cooperative Principles, an original founding of the UK, and adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995. These principles ensure each co-op works toward the same goal of implementing the safest, healthiest community full of equality.

Below are a list of local Portland Co-op stores, or click here to find a location anywhere in the world.

Portland Neighborhood Co-ops

7 Cooperative Principles 

as defined by the National Cooperative Business Association:

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use its 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 members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.

3. Members' 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

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members.