According to a release by the The Fair Labor Association, Apple has just joined the FLA as a Participating Company, and is the first technology company to do so.

FLA’s role will be to independently assess the quality of Apple’s supply chain, and will report the results on its website. Auret van Heerden, FLA’s President and CEO, believes that Apple takes “supplier responsibility seriously,” and looks forward to the partnership. Heerden says the FLA welcomes “Apple’s commitment to greater transparency and independent oversight” and hopes that “its participation will set a new standard for the electronics industry.”

From the release:

FLA Participating Companies agree to uphold the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct throughout their supply chains and commit to the FLA’s Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing. In 2011, the FLA worked with Apple to assess the impact of Apple’s training programs which help raise awareness of labor rights and standards among workers in its supply chain. Like all new affiliates, Apple will align its compliance program with FLA obligations within the next two years.

Apple released a list of its official suppliers just a few hours ago,  and clearly is trying to become more open and honest about its labor policies. In case you’re not familiar with the supplier responsibility page, it follows multiple subjects, including labor and human rightsworker health and safetyenvironmental impact and general ethics.

More from Apple on the subject of human rights:

Apple prohibits practices that threaten the rights of workers — even when local laws and customs permit such practices. We’ve taken action toward ending excessive recruitment fees, preventing the hiring of underage workers, and prohibiting discriminatory policies at our suppliers. And as the first technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association, Apple is setting a new standard in transparency and oversight.

Apple is finally starting to take worker’s and human rights seriously, just as it started taking environmental responsibility seriously after being pressured by Green Peace. But regardless of why Apple is doing this, these steps move everything in the right direction.