Modelling and quantification of Eco-functional Index: The concept and applications of eco-functional assessment

Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu, Yi Li, Jun Yan Hu, Pik Yin Mok, Mouguang Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This research work deals with the development of a novel framework to assess any product/textile material in terms of its eco-functional characteristics and to derive the Eco-functional Index from various sub-indices. Functional and ecological properties combined with consumer behaviour are the key aspects influencing the implications for the environment of any product, including textile products. Functional, ecological properties and consumer behaviour are currently treated as individual issues by consumers, business people and also industry. In fact, they are interrelated and interactive; their interaction is at the heart of this research. To date, no systematic study has been reported in the literature addressing the interrelation and interaction of these aspects. This study makes an attempt to combine these aspects in a single platform termed "Eco-functional Assessment". This research work discusses the concept of eco-functional assessment and demonstrates the applications of the concept by considering shopping bags used for grocery purposes as an example. The primary aim of this research study is to fill the knowledge gaps by establishing a theoretical framework of eco-functional assessment, which has not been reported in the literature to date. An eco-functional model was developed with four inputs (raw materials, process of manufacture, functional properties and ecological properties) and five outputs (quality, functionality, 3Rs, human impact, environmental impact) to quantify the Eco-functional Index of any product/textile material. These inputs and outputs and their interrelation can provide a profile of the essential characteristics for the eco-functional assessment of any textile product. With the aid of the eco-functional model where the values from the discussed aspects are synthesized, eco-functional capacities of any product can be assessed and an "Eco-functional" Index can be assigned to any product. Eco-functional Index would be of primary importance to designers, manufacturers and so on. 23 samples made out of different types of shopping bags were assessed in terms of their eco-functional properties and the eco-functional score of each bag was evaluated and the results are presented. The results of the eco-functional assessment reveal the importance of every aspect of a product to meet the requirements of eco-functional assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Eco-functional Index
  • Ecological properties
  • Functional properties
  • Shopping bags

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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