All cooperative businesses around the world operate in accordance with the seven cooperative principles, but less known is the fact that cooperatives have also adopted a set of values that helps put these principles into practice.
These values include self-help, responsibility, democracy, equality and equity, which equate to a belief in honesty, openness, social responsibility and compassion for others.
At LaGrange County REMC, we strive every day to leave a positive impact on our community, while providing safe, affordable and reliable electricity. In honor of October’s National Co-op Month, let me explain how.
The founders of LaGrange County REMC created the co-op to serve area residents in need of electricity, and we continue to do that today. This embodies the values of self-help: taking action and doing what needs to be done.
We also know we must embrace the value of self-responsibility and be accountable to you, our member. The co-op continues to listen to our members and be proactive, as can be seen in the recent introduction of Co-op Solar, an initiative spurred by our members’ interest and feedback.
Being led by consumers, like you, it’s important to remember that each member has one vote, no matter how much electricity he or she uses. This ensures democracy is practiced the way it is intended, with equality for all members. This is a key difference between co-ops and investor-owned companies, where the number of votes you have depends on the number of shares you own.
For co-op members, equity has two meanings: LaGrange County REMC strives to treat all of our members fairly, but also, as a member, you have ownership in the co-op.
While each co-op is autonomous, we do act in solidarity with other co-ops and our community. We know we can do more for you by partnering with other cooperatives and like-minded organizations.
Your parents were right when they said, “Honesty is the best policy.” As an owner, you have the right to expect us to act with openness and in a transparent manner. We welcome your active participation in our co-op.
Cooperatives have long been identified as the original socially responsible business. That means we care about the impact we have on the community. Our economic visibility is also important to us.
We try to demonstrate our concern for the community through caring for others every single day, whether it is by giving grant funding back to the community through Operation Round Up and EnviroWatts, teaching our area youth about electrical safety through school demonstrations, sponsoring local events or donating our time and effort to economic development initiatives.
We were built by the communities we serve, and we plan to forge ahead by building on the principles that our founders employed more than 80 years ago.