Anthony Bayss

Startup and commercialisation expert

When will 'ethically sourced freelancers' be a thing?

In my previous article ‘Why Does the Global Freelance Economy Need a Mutiny?’ I highlighted how the emergence of the super freelance platforms have come to dominate the global short-term labor hire market. I also explored how decentralised freelance platforms are beginning to offer services with considerable savings in platform fees.
Building a decentralised freelance platform is one thing, but getting clients (startups, and businesses who need jobs/projects completed) and freelancers, to use the platform is an entirely seperate undertaking. Put simply — ‘build it and they will come’ just does not work.
The importance of ethical actions
Nearly every consumer product industry has copious examples of business brands undertaking ethical practises. The foodservice industry for some years now has shifted to reducing, recycling and eliminating the use of plastic consumables. Electronics manufacturers are mindful and proactive in using ethically sourced labor and provisioning for closed loop recycling of their product inventory. And large energy users are continually exploring and implementing ambitious renewable energy targets.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg for what is a microcosm of what is really going on — the world community has good intent for doing what is morally correct and for what positively impacts society.
Its time for the short-term labor markets to catch-up
In 2000 the United Nations established the ‘UN Global Compact’ — a list of global sustainable development goals (SDGs) for companies to focus on.
There are currently 17 SDGs, with Goal 8 being the most relevant  — Decent Work and Economic Growth. 
If you are a founder of a startup or a small-to-medium enterprise, and are using contract labour hire (freelancers) for a given project, then you have the consumption power. 
Your decisions to pick which freelance(s) or freelance platform to use is a purchase decision just like your businesses other supply-side decisions.
If your business is already making purchase decisions with a mindset of building an ethical brand, then there is no reason for not encompassing ethically sourced freelancers into your practises.
So what should it mean to be ethically sourcing freelancers?
A good question, and I would love for this list to be expanded by readers of this post:
1. To select a freelance platform that offers services that empower the freelancer — these may include lower platform fees, escrow services for fair payment transfers, timely transfer services of funds 
2. To be mindful of the true financial benefits (gross amounts) received by freelance labor workers when utilising platform hire services
3. To instil a practise of contracting freelancers where a diligent effort is made to compensate for a fair salary
4. To evaluate a freelance platforms transparency and governance to ensure the operations are not exploitatory
5. To ensure an open and fluid communication channel is available during the contract hire process.
Where should every founder start?
I am not going to start recommending certain freelance platforms over others. However, every startup founder needs to begin the journey of selecting the best freelance platform they can research, one which encompasses the ethical decision making processes businesses already undertake in sourcing product supplies. 
It may very well be that the introduction of decentralised freelance platforms pave the way for the ethically sourced freelance movement.

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