In this work a framework for the combined assessment of economic and environmental impact was developed for an industrial application. The method was tested for a reactive distillation (RD) process that is used for the production of fatty acid esters. The method integrates three stages, first the optimization goals are set and the system is modeled accordingly, secondly a sensitivity analysis is performed, the collected data is lastly interpreted using Pareto analysis and rank and proximity criteria. For the RD case study the sensitivity analysis showed that the catalyst requirement influences the economic impact and that the impact of wastewater treatment is the key component for the environmental impact. From the Pareto analysis recommendations concerning the design of the column can be made (in terms of operational pressure and number of stages), where the economic and environmental impacts are balanced.