AUSTRALIA'S ONLY PEAK BODY FOR
ALL COOPS + MUTUALS
What are Cooperative and Mutual Enterprises (CMEs)?
Co-operatives and mutuals are member-owned businesses where benefits are derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use. They are a rational alternative to the investor-owned business model which prioritises returns to external shareholders. CMEs are often a response to market failure. Once established, many co-operative and mutual enterprises been highly successful, some serving their communities for more than 150 years.
The seven co-operative principles ensure all stakeholders in the economy – customers, workers, suppliers – can have a say in business decisions. These are:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training, and information
- Co-operation among co-operatives
- Concern for Community
Member-based businesses create competition and choice for consumers, while also giving small to medium enterprises opportunity to share the costs to access larger markets.
Paper: Defining Mutuality
Defining Mutuality explains what co-ops and mutuals are and how they fit together as a unified sector.