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Friday, January 13, 2012, 11:52 am PT (02:52 pm ET)

Apple is first technology company to join Fair Labor Association

The Fair Labor Association announced on Friday that Apple is now a participating member, making it the first technology company to earn that distinction.

By joining the FLA, Apple agrees to have the association independently assess facilities in its supply chain and report detailed findings on the association's website. Apple also agrees to uphold the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct throughout its supply chains, and commit to the association's Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing.

"We found that Apple takes supplier responsibility seriously and we look forward to their participation in the Fair Labor Association," Auret van Heerden, FLA's President and CEO, said in a press release. "We welcome Apple's commitment to greater transparency and independent oversight, and we hope its participation will set a new standard for the electronics industry."

The announcement comes the same day that Apple released its annual supplier responsibility report. The 2012 edition is Apple's most extensive yet, with 229 total audits conducted, and found that underage labor was significantly reduced last year among the company's suppliers, with no evidence of intentional underage labor.

"We're extremely proud to be the first technology company admitted to the FLA," said Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of Operations. "Last year we performed more than 200 audits at our supplier's facilities around the world. With the benefit of the FLA's experience and expertise, we will continue to drive improvements for workers and provide even greater transparency into our supply chain."