The concept of sustainability first emerged in 1970, but it only became an important issue in the modern society with the Brundtland Report, (1987), in which sustainable development is defined as:
. Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.
The impact of industry on sustainability can be summarized in terms of three criteria-environmental responsibility, economic return (wealth creation), and social development. For industry to guide its activities towards greater sustainabil-ity, more engineers need to have the tools to assess the operations with which they are concerned.
The Institute of Chemical Engineers defined a set of sustainability metrics . These metrics will help engineers to address the issue of sustainable development. They will also enable companies to set targets and develop standards for internal benchmarking, and to monitor progress year-on-year.
It is required that the safety of a process plant fulfills a certain required level, due to general legal requirements, the company image, as well as economic reasons, since an unsafe plant cannot be profitable on account of losses of production and capital. Therefore, safety should influence design decisions from the first moment of the design project. The safety evaluation is usually done by safety analysis methods. Safety analysis is a systematic examination of the structure and functions of the process system aimed at identifying potential accident contributors, evaluating the risk presented by them and finding risk-reducing measures.
An inherently safer design is one that avoids hazards instead of controlling them, particularly by removing or reducing the amount of hazardous material in the plant or the number of hazardous operation. Heikkila  developed a method to study the inherently safety of a given process.
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