The Nature Conservancy purchases only those goods and services that are required to further its organizational mission and to fulfil a genuine need. The Conservancy will avoid unnecessary or duplicative purchasing, will be environmentally-conscious, minimize risk exposure, and will consider purchase alternatives such as leases and donations in order to meet organizational needs.
All purchasing shall be conducted in an impartial, objective, and ethical manner. No preferential treatment will be granted to any vendor/contractor. All staff involved in any purchasing decision (including ratification or approval) will employ sound business practices and arms- length bargaining. No Conservancy officer or employee will solicit, demand, accept, or agree to accept from another person a gratuity or an offer of employment in connection with any decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, or other particular matter pertaining to any solicitation or contract award.
Purchasing transactions must be conducted in a manner that provides for competition to the maximum extent practical and reasonable under the particular circumstances. The procedures required to generate competition are detailed in the tables and provisions below.
|Up to $2,000 (U.S.)||$2,001 - $150,000 (U.S.)||Over $150,000 (U.S.)|
|Small Purchase Procedure||Intermediate Purchase Procedure||Large Purchase Procedure|
|Reasonable Decision||Quote Documentation||Sealed Bids or Competitive Proposals|
1. Contractor conflicts of interest
For any procurement solicitation or contract, if a contractor assists with drafting specifications, requirements, statements of work, or competitive proposals such as invitation for bids (IFBs) or requests for proposals (RFPs), that vendor cannot compete for that procurement in order to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest and possible disputes from the other participating vendors.
2. Right of rejection
Any formal solicitation document shall contain notice that the Conservancy reserves the right a) to reject any and all offers for any reason whatsoever, b) to waive immaterial project requirements, and c) to pursue purchasing in a manner that is in the best interests of the Conservancy.
3. Small Purchase Procedure
Purchase transactions not expected to exceed the small purchase ceilings identified in the charts above per transaction may be made without competition and without further justification. Nevertheless, responsible purchasers may choose to pursue some form of competition (price comparisons, requests for quotations, etc.) and should use judgment and an understanding of the applicable marketplace in making this decision.
4. Intermediate Purchase Procedure
Intermediate purchases, as identified in the charts above, may be made only after consideration of price quotes. At this threshold, a minimum of three quotes shall be obtained.
5. Large Purchase Procedure
For purchases over US$150,000, the Business Unit must engage in a formal bidding/proposal process. RFP or IFB shall be prepared by the responsible purchaser. The RFP shall contain a description of the anticipated contract type (fixed price, cost reimbursement, or some variation), the instructions for completing an offer, and selection criteria that will be used in selecting the successful bidder. The RFP also shall include any necessary non-disclosure provisions as well as the Conservancy’s conflict of interest disclosure form. Once completed, the documents will be made available to potential bidders through distribution methods that may include, but are not limited to, direct mailing and advertisement in print and electronic media. The methods used should further the intent of reaching the optimal number of potential bidders. A written technical evaluation shall be conducted of all proposals received. Contracts will be awarded to the responsible entity whose proposal is most advantageous to the program, with price and other factors considered.
Contracts must be given only to “responsible contractors,” i.e., those possessing the ability to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of a proposed procurement. Consideration must be given to such matters as contractor integrity, compliance with public policy, records of past performance, and financial and technical resources.
Offers received in response to solicitation and competition or through other means are to be reviewed against relevant specifications and selection criteria. Where an RFP or ITB is used, the solicitation should include the relevant specifications and selection criteria. If additional information is provided to one potential offeror about the solicitation, that information must be shared with all potential offerors. The responsible purchaser shall be responsible for determining whether offers are responsive to the solicitation and whether potential vendors/contractors are responsible and capable of delivery. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to, checking references, determining creditworthiness or business integrity, site visits, relevant certifications for the goods or services provided, awards and portfolio of current clients, or using databases concerning organizational status.
Any offer not meeting specifications or statements of work or not presented in accordance with instructions contained in the solicitation may be rejected. The responsible purchaser shall exercise care in reviewing offers against specifications or selection criteria in order to avoid the potential for dispute with disappointed vendors/contractors.
Evaluating a bid or quote may require a cost analysis. A cost analysis is the review and evaluation of elements of cost to determine reasonableness, allocability, and allowability (if the funder of the purchase has imposed rules on what may and may not be purchased). Cost analysis may be accomplished in various ways, including the comparison of price quotations, market prices, and similar indicators, including discounts. Offers for professional services should be reviewed to determine what customary fees are charged for similar services in the appropriate labor market.