Preamble to the Conduct Code
Cooperation in the Trentino area is the fruit of a century of development, carried out in the communities of this area, by the promoters of a new humanistic dimension of our society.

Cooperation in the Trentino region has its roots in the local civil and religious history, from which it was born. Cooperation has become, over time, not only part of this tradition, but also an actor in its renovation and local development, working to counter social divisions to consolidate solidarity ties within the community.

The evolution of the local social scenario, whatever its institutional and political context, has been made possible by giving people a central position.

The decision to focus on people generated a number of transformation and modernization processes, where local cooperation has played the main role.

Trentino Cooperation is, in fact, characterized by the balance between tradition and modernity, and it is this balance that makes it strong and very special: an agent for local economic, social and institutional development.

Why a Conduct code?
The Conduct Code for Cooperation in the Trentino area is a tool in support of the ethics of members and of the community.

It reaffirms the need to act following the North Star: associative commitment that illuminates the moral responsibility of individuals and lays the basis for ethical behavior.

From the experience and the moral reflection of individuals arises the shared ethics of our community.
Our Conduct Code sets transparent and reliable guidelines for the local cooperative system.

Our Conduct Code clarifies the commitments that inspire the statutes of individual cooperatives as well as consortia, and of the Trentino Federation of Co-operation, in accordance with the teachings of the Christian social thought.

Faced with the new challenges and responsibilities affecting cooperation, in Trentino and in the world, our Conduct Code intends to make these commitments even more visible.

The rapid growth of the market requires rules. Rules that are determined by the law, but also rules that speak to the people's heart and moral intelligence. They express themselves in the relationships arising from the sharing of cultural values, relationships between people and between people and organizations.

Our Conduct Code wants to guide, not force, preventing behaviors that are not consistent with cooperative moral responsibility and ethics.

Co-operative moral and ethical responsibility must always characterize the actions and decisions of members as well as directors, managers and collaborators of the cooperative movement, who work inside and outside the organization, and so much more when they represent it in non-cooperative institutions and organizations.

For members and for future generations, our Conduct Code wants to be a constant stimulus and a support to education to values and cooperation principles, to the ethical training of members, directors and collaborators and to the permanent enhancement of the community and its members.

Cooperation is active in local and international markets, and faces the competition guided by the principle of efficiency. At the same time, though, it claims its uniqueness and distinctiveness, when compared to private and public companies, pursuing profit through cooperative modes and instruments that are consistent with cooperation ethics.

In Cooperation the key role is not played by profit, but by consortia of companies and co-operative organizations that are the result of the free association of people who enter into a pact of solidarity and mutual help.

By entering projects that are faithful to its mission, our Cooperation group fully expresses its identity, thus strengthening the sense of belonging of its members. Cooperation respects the principle of members' autonomy , never disjoined from the sense of common responsibility arising from the free choice to become part of a system of values based on mutuality, solidarity and cooperation.

Co-operation is an effective tool to add meaning to both professional and personal life within society, to create identity and bonds in a free and responsible environment.

Co-operation acts within enterprises and businesses, consortia and federations, it identifies with cooperative values enshrined in the "Statement on the Cooperative Identity" adopted at the 1995 Congress and General Assembly of the International Cooperative Alliance [ICA] in Manchester.

These values are: democracy, equality, fairness, solidarity, honesty, openness, social responsibility, concern for others, mutual aid.

These values, which the early co-operators and the international cooperative movement have adopted as their own, are so universal that each of them includes other characteristic values of our history.

The values of cooperation in the Trentino area

  • Democracy
  • Reciprocity
  • Equality
  • Mutuality and solidarity
  • Cooperative profit and inter-generational approach
  • Fairness
  • Respect and trust
  • Merits
  • Caring for others and humility
  • Inter-cooperation
  • Honesty
  • Openness
  • Peace
  • Social Responsibility
  • Sustainable development
  • Freedom
  • Subsidiarity
  • Mutual aid

The value of the "cooperative democracy" is "one person, one vote" and it is essential to characterize co-operation and significantly distinguishes the co-operative model from other types of business. Relationships within and between cooperatives are such as to make democracy a practical and substantial fact and not just a formal one.

In Cooperation the substance of democracy is guaranteed by the election and decision mechanism which implies that property is not the decisive source that defines the representation, nor it is the factor affecting its formation.

To co-operate in a democratic manner is necessary to adhere to the value of reciprocity.
Reciprocity requires commitment to behave towards others as you would like others to behave towards you. It involves the readiness to act in the belief that it is important to give as it is to receive, and that only through the mutual exchange of material, spiritual and relational goods, you can contribute to building a fairer society and a more equitable economy.

In a relationship of reciprocity the value of equality will actually grow. In cooperation, equality does not lead to forms of collectivism, but to the enhancement of personalities through the belief that the democratic principle of discussion and of decisions made by free and responsible individuals is the key factor of unity and cohesion.

These values - democracy, reciprocity, equality - must always guide the decision-making processes within the cooperative organization, without succumbing to the temptation of opportunistic choices resulting from abuse of power, selfishness, individualism and rejection of altruism.

Mutuality and solidarity
Mutuality is the consituent element of cooperation. It is the tool that allows to achieve, together, benefits that could not be obtained individually. Solidarity also pursues to expand mutual benefits by favoring the admission of new members, the establishment of new cooperative organizations and the well-being of the entire population of the Trentino area, which is becoming more and more multi-cultural and multi-religious.

The value of solidarity, stated by the International Cooperative Alliance, is one of the milestones of Cooperation in Trentino. Solidarity operates to avoid the risk that the value of mutuality is turned into a group privilege, at the exclusive disposal of the members of the cooperative movement.

Solidarity cooperation promotes and participates in both national and international social aid projects. In a cooperation approach, to pursue solidarity means to do one's best to help reduce the increasing gap caused by serious economic and social inequalities.

Cooperative profit and inter-generational approach
This is essential to the protection of the specific nature of cooperative profit. Profit which is not entirely dedicated to the benefit of the members of the cooperation organization, but where a significant part of it passes from generation to generation, helping to ensure the longevity of cooperatives and to create a huge patrimony made of indivisible reserves.

Fairness is one of the most historically significant cooperative values and this suggests that cooperation, in its dual function of social/cultural movement and economic organization, has always played, since its birth, a key role in the process of civilization of our society and of humanization of the market.

Indiduals who play a key role in any cooperative enterprise must adopt specific criteria for performance evaluation in compliance with shared social rules, in order to prevent any kind of discrimination, be it gender, race, religion, nationality, or family, ideological, political, union affinity.

Respect and trust
The value of fairness implies our firm belief that people are always trustworthy. If recognized and respected in their spiritual and physical integrity, individuals can express their human qualities and professional skills more completely.

In interpersonal and inter-cooperative relationships, respect and trust go hand in hand. On them rests the ability to have a fair and beneficial behavior for the ethical integrity of businesses, to which people dedicate a large part of their time.

A cooperative organization governed by fairness can recognize and value people through their merits. It does not humiliate them through unethical practices, such as the use of patronage and or connections and opportunism, which tend to reward the unskilled or the less deserving.
The recognition of merit is a value that must be supported and disseminated in cooperation groups with strength and determination. This value reflects a deep attention towards others as always worthy of respect and consideration for their abilities.

Mutual respect and recognition support, sustain and free the individuals from a condition of subordination and forbid to be weak with the strong and strong with the weak, which is what happens when you use the authoritativeness that convinces and not the power that commands.

Caring for others and humility
A caring attitude, together with respect and humility, is one of the "priceless virtues": a decisive value for the affirmation of other fundamental ethical reasons. Being truly attentive to others makes it possible to build relationships based on the awareness of mutual obligations and on respect for the freedom of others.
This is the only type of relationship that makes it possible to pursue a greater good.

A cooperative bond must be woven to connect intercooperation with honesty and openness, under the light of a relationship based on mutuality and solidarity between co-operatives.
To consolidate cooperative binding it is necessary to emphasize the ability to cooperate, more than competition between cooperatives in the same sector, to focus on better integration of services and resources between cooperating sectors and to increase transparent exchange of information between first- and second-degree cooperatives and between them and their respective members.

No written rule can work if it is not based on honesty and on personal intention to behave in accordance with the agreed ethical guidelines as well as to admit, where necessary, one's limitations and mistakes.

Honesty is the condition to affirm the value of transparency, at the base of Cooperation in theTrentino region with its centuries old history. Openness must characterize all the behaviors of individuals and organizations.
Openness means traceability of each and every inter-cooperative relationship and cooperative action towards members, directors, collaboators, customers, consumers, suppliers and citizens.

This value must be pursued with greater force when the people involved are not fully aware of all the implications of a specific relationship established with the different cooperation realities co-operatives can have consequences on their lives.

Cooperation believes that peace is not simply a synonym for "absence of war". There's no peace without justice, nor without fair and and respectful development of the dignity of peoples and human beings.
Peace is one of the essential conditions of cooperative actions, wherever they take place.
Cooperation, therefore, considers initiatives of solidarity and international cooperation, especially those involving impoverished countries, an inherent feature of its activities and an extension of cooperative principles.
These initiatives of solidarity and international cooperation should aim at encouraging and supporting self-promotion and local development practice in order to improve and create peace.

Social Responsibility
It is a common belief that all enterprises - cooperatives, private and public - must confront with the citizens' legitimate expectations of social responsibility: undoubtedly, they must contribute to the legitimacy of the enterprise itself, but also to the development and well-being of the society and the community in which and through which they operate.

Social responsibility is a fundamental value of the company and of the cooperative movement since its origins, whatever the cultures that have nurtured the growth of the centuries-old tree of Cooperation. Thereby, it is certainly not a novelty, indeed it is a continued commitment to those who believe in and live by cooperative values.

Sustainable Development
Along with the issue of social responsibility, the challenges posed by sustainable development have become urgent and strategic for the activities and the reputation of the cooperative movement.
Sustainable development is achieved by operating in the belief that, for the very survival of humanity, of future generations and the planet, it is essential to pursue the reproducibility of the conditions of life and work of the community according to the parameters of sustainability, avoiding all kinds of pollution and depletion of natural resources.

Cooperation is committed to this challenge without forgetting the values that have in hishave guided social development and economic growth, firmly believing in freedom and democracy and rejecting any affiliation or subordination to political parties.
Therefore, Cooperation is either free or it is not.

Cooperation, as an intermediate society between the citizen and the State, embodies the value of subsidiarity for his only ask because in the history of mankind and © the inviolable rights of the person are its fundamental values.
Cooperation in fact solves in the best possible way a number of specific problems within local communities, without recourse to the intervention of public institutions.

Mutual aid
In this scenario the cooperative value of mutual aid is a key element, valid on a global scale because it reminds us that cooperation, at all times and in all places, has grown relying on its own strength, values and principles, and on the work of its members.

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