Wildlife Conservation Society
Grantee Standards of Conduct

As of January 1, 2023

WCS requires its grant recipients, subrecipients, subgrantees (“you”)—as well as directors, officers, employees, independent contractors, subrecipients, representatives and agents of each of the foregoing—to adhere to the following standards of conduct in the performance of work on behalf of or in collaboration with WCS (the “Work”):

  1. Uphold the highest standards of honesty, integrity and ethical behavior in performing the Work.
  2. Use WCS funds and assets, and perform the Work, in accordance with all applicable statutes, laws, codes, regulations and donor rules.
  3. Establish and maintain effective systems to detect and prevent violations of law, misconduct and fraud, misappropriation or misuse of funds or assets and to ensure financial integrity, prudent fiscal management and accountability with respect to the use of funds and assets received from WCS for the Work.
  4. Engage in fair, open and ethical practices to procure goods and services for the Work, so as to make the best possible use of resources, and encourage competition and sound business relationships with suppliers and other contractors.
  5. Do not tolerate or engage in any form of corrupt practice, including extortion, fraud, bribery or money laundering of any sort, directly or indirectly, at any level. Ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations that restrict or prohibit making corrupt payments to government officials or employees.
  6. Do not directly or indirectly request or accept from anyone (including vendors, suppliers, customers, subrecipients or subcontractors) any payment, gift or gratuity or anything of value other than token, low-value items in connection with the Work.
  7. Ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations that restrict or prohibit transactions with, and/or provision of material support or resources to, individuals, entities or groups that engage in or support acts of terror or who are subject to U.S. or other applicable government sanctions, and comply with all applicable import/export rules, sanctions and restrictions.
  8. Do not use WCS funds and/or assets to participate or intervene, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office in any national, sub-national, state or local government election anywhere in the world.
  9. Ensure that any real or potential conflict of interest (whether ethical, legal or financial) in the performance of the Work is recognized, disclosed and appropriately resolved. Any conflict of interest that is not resolved by avoiding the transaction that creates the conflict must be reported to WCS before entering into the transaction.
  10. Avoid undue health, safety and security risks; exercise due care in making decisions affecting the safety of personnel involved in the Work; and immediately report to WCS any significant health, safety or security concerns arising in the performance of the Work.
  11. Do not perform the Work under the influence of illicit drugs, unauthorized prescription drugs and/or alcohol.
  12. If the Work involves interactions with animals, provide the highest level of care to all animals in accordance with recognized best practices and ethical standards; strive to ensure that all interactions with animals are humane and respectful; and seek to avoid or minimize harm to wildlife and their habitats.
  13. Uphold and conform to the relevant standards of excellence and integrity for human and/or animal subject research in designing, conducting, managing, reviewing, using or communicating research, science and related activities in performing the Work.
  14. Treat Indigenous Peoples, local communities and others participating in the Work with respect and dignity and show regard for others’ views and opinions.
  15. Perform the Work consistent with international human rights standards, human rights laws and WCS policies and procedures regarding protection of human rights and safeguarding (see https://www.wcs.org/about-us/literature/conservation-and-human-rights), with due regard for local laws, cultures and customs. Ensure that you do not contribute to, facilitate or tolerate any form of human trafficking or forced labor, or abuse (including physical, emotional or sexual), exploitation or any other activity that could result in harm to the health, safety, survival, development or dignity of any individual including children, vulnerable adults or communities in connection with the Work. WCS’s Global Grievance Redress Mechanism (see https://www.wcs.org/grievance-redress) is available to receive good faith complaints about any aspect of the Work that is reasonably believed to contribute to or cause human rights or safeguarding abuses or violation of the human rights of individuals or communities.
  16. Report immediately to WCS any credible allegations of corruption; extortion; fraud; bribery; money laundering; human rights violations; sexual abuse or exploitation; abuse or exploitation of children, vulnerable adults or communities; or any other serious misconduct or illegal activity in connection with the Work. Send reports required under these Standards of Conduct to ethics@wcs.org. All reports and complaints will be handled in a fair and objective manner, and will be treated as confidential to the extent appropriate under the circumstances.
  17. Communicate these Standards of Conduct to anyone who has access to, or decision authority over, WCS funds or assets or the Work.
  18. Fully and timely cooperate with WCS in any investigation regarding violation of these Standards of Conduct.
  19. Prohibit retaliation against an individual for reporting or inquiring in good faith about activities that may violate these Standards of Conduct. Retaliation may include intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any such individual.

WCS receives grants, contracts, and other awards from a wide variety of governmental, public and private donors. Please note that WCS’s agreement with you for the Work may contain similar or additional donor-specific compliance and reporting requirements.

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