1. Voluntary and Open Membership.
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
5. Education, Training and 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.
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Concern for Community.
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
The current production and consumption of energy seriously threaten life on Earth.
These are the main issues:
- The environment: Climate change, threatened ecosystems and threatened human communities;
- Economical and geopolitical: Non-renewable energy sources will be depleted in the short or medium term;
- Social: Unfair access to basic energy services and measures for rational use of energy, privatisation of public services;
- Privatisation of common ressources: Energy is – just as water and land - a common good, but it is increasingly subject to privatisation and speculation. Ordinary people here and in the South are paying the price for that.
- Political: In the context of the privatisation of the energy market, governments and local authorities are withdrawing from energy production and supply. However energy policies are lacking a unambiguous longterm view and transparency. This means not only government ambitions on liberalisation - competitiveness, fair prices and energy-autonomy - will not be met. Neither will the Kyoto targets.
Our vision of the energysupply for the future assumes a reduced consumption, thanks to rational energy use. What is consumed comes only from renewable energy sources. Their development should be done within a reasonable spatial planning and custom of society.
Our vision is based on the participation of residents and communities. Everyone should have the participate in achieving the energy objectives. Revenue and profits of projects should be shared in time and space, between the current and future generations, between people around the projects and further away. We see the production, distribution and consumption of energy in the context of sustainable development as a public service and international solidarity.
Based on these observations and this vision the signatories of the Charter of REScoop.be aim to allow citizens and local stakeholders to choose, own and run the local production, distribution and supply of energy.
The basic ideas are:
- information and consultation of the local community;
- the possibility of financial participation in renewable energy projects creating a real and direct connection with the projects;
- the longterm goal of 100% renewable energy;
- the values of the Charter.
A project of citizens must meet the following criteria:
1. Local roots:
The company building and operating the project is completely open to participation by local residents, local civil society, the municipality and its agencies and ordinary people in general: before, during and after the realization of the project. That way they can appropriate the project and the link between energy needs, the necessary production of renewable resources and local economic value becomes clear.
2. Non speculative:
The renewable energy project is realized to be exploited and not for resale. The return on capital is limited. The project provides access to energy at a fair and transparent price. Part of the surplus is spent on education and information and investment in new projects. To the extent possible, the other developers with whom there is a collaboration, the co-investors and their contractors also respect these rules in the construction and operation of this renewable energy project.
The company building and operating the project is autonomous and is not controlled by governments or other companies. The mechanism of cooperation and solidarity that is used for the investment and the objectives of the projects, is part of the social and cooperative economy, and puts these companies on the one hand outside the public sector (managerial autonomy) and outside the pure private companies who cannot sign the charter.
Companies realizing and operating such projects, and to the extent possible, the project partners (developers, consultancies, banks, contractors, ...) are democratically organized, are of the cooperative type or are operating according to the cooperative principles, transparent and clear. They guarantee the preservation of the objectives of the project throughout its duration. The elected board of these companies should allow the co-operative members control productioncosts and ensure transparency in the operation and finances.
The company carrying out and operating the project commits sustainably and voluntarily for the environment, ranging from global issues (climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, ...) to the problem at the local level (land use, wind, rivers, local impact, ...). To the extent possible, the developers and co-investors of the project and their contractors (engineering companies, manufacturers, installers, ...) also respect this line.
6. Economical handling space:
Even renewable resources are limited. The development and realization is subject to prior study and planning. Several project proposals will be considered on their merits: urban planning, environmental and socio-economical.