All around the world, cooperatives hold the same core principles and values, adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995. At Westmill, our work is guided by these principles:

Voluntary & Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to everyone able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination. Westmill’s membership is the largest solar cooperative in the UK, with most members living close to the site.

Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in policy and decision-making. At Westmill, our volunteer-directors serve as elected representatives accountable to the membership. All members have equal voting rights: one member, one vote.

Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the co-operative’s capital: developing the co-operative; benefiting members of the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership. Westmill members have decided that, after a reasonable return to shareholders, the cooperative will support renewable energy, education and community benefits.

Autonomy & Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy. Westmill employs specialist help for site management, accounting and legal affairs, but responsibility remains with the volunteer directors and the members.

Education, Training & Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation. Westmill’s work with WeSET in particular helps to foster understanding about the need for decarbonisation, climate change mitigation and a thriving natural world.

Co-Operation Among Co-Operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures. Westmill supports other co-operatives by sharing experience, expertise and through financial support where possible.

Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members. Westmill members have set aside an annual contribution to our community fund, which will help to support climate change mitigation, education and related community benefits for years to come.

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