In a smart move by Apple, the company has released details of an audit done on an iPod factory in China. The audit came in response to accusations of “sweatshop” conditions by the Mail on Sunday.

According to the audit the supplier was “in compliance in the majority of the areas audited. However, we did find violations to our Code of Conduct, as well as other areas for improvement that we are working with the supplier to address.” What follows in the report is a breakdown of the audit methodology and selected results.

This is excellent work on the PR front. Apple’s apparent transparency on this issue shows a good balance of humility (admitting there are things to do better) and strength (stating high levels of satisfaction) in response to the accusations.

Sure, I’d love to go all hippy and say, “This deserves only a satisfied nod that they’re doing it the right way. One shouldn’t praise a company for behaving decently.”

Unfortunately, it’s a corporate reality that an issue such as this can be ignored entirely or brushed under the carpet. Apple acting responsibly does deserve praise – in the hope that we (cue hippy speak) see a day where corporate social responsibility is a no-brainer.

One of our topics areas from our What’s New in Online Marketing 2006 event was blogging and online PR – the focus of which was reputation management through prompt action/response and accountability.

So well done on both, Apple.