Integrated, in this use, refers to combining various components of a business's functions into a single assessment. Therefore, integrated reporting involves "representation of a company’s performance in terms of both financial and non-financial results."
All businesses require accountability of the various components within the business for a multitude of reasons, and the resulting data is used in numerous ways. Businesses evaluate manufacturing processes for efficiency; they monitor training and use of labor; they assess public relations and marketing efforts. An integrated reporting approach puts these various factors in a wider perspective related to sustainability in the world and of the world's resources.
Integrated reporting also illuminates how sustainability strategies can be embedded into "company decision making." Integrated reporting can be used to encourage socially responsible investing. The company's environmental sustainability efforts encourages investment. Socially responsible investing (SRI) has grown at a faster rate since 2003 than conventional investing as more investors take into consideration non-financial sustainability practices. Integrated reporting was launched by the Prince of Wales in 2007 as Accounting for Sustainability. (Wikipedia, "Integrated reporting")