Nike - Brilliant Noise

How Nike is elevating its move to zero programme across emea – without greenwashing

Sustainability is on the mind of everyone who matters to Nike. Consumers, employees, investors, and collaborators all want to know who they’re dealing with. The company’s Move To Zero (MTZ) initiative shows an impressive record of innovation and investment in sustainability, but those stories weren’t reaching the people who needed to hear them.


When it comes to building a successful company, taking the first step is often the hardest. But according to its founder, Phil Knight, Nike’s journey to greatness was in its DNA. As his favourite teacher would growl, “The cowards never started, and the weak died along the way – that leaves us.”

From the very beginning, Nike has been a challenger and an innovator, built by a group of athletes driven by the same concerns and obsessions shared by the athletes they made shoes for. Their focus on innovation has taken the company from strength to global strength. But to stay at the top, Nike now has to imagine – and re-imagine – what its brand needs to be in a world that’s changing fast.

In the 2020s, that means standing for sustainability – authentically. Nike embraced the responsibility and launched the Move To Zero initiative to get every aspect of the business actively engaged in the effort to accelerate decarbonisation.

However, telling the story of its genuine sustainability work, without greenwashing, proved to be a challenge for Nike. While the company has deep expertise in developing and marketing products for many sports, sustainability was a different story. It wasn’t any single division’s challenge – it was everyone’s.


With the Test–Learn–Lead™ process from Brilliant Noise, the Nike team was able to capture hundreds of ideas and prioritise them in a systematic way.

Brilliant Noise’s Overture™ tool makes it possible to turn the outputs of brainstorms and workshops into structured data. This makes it easier to hone in on ideas that are likely to have the biggest impact fastest, and also demonstrates the rigour that goes into taking a plethora of possible ideas down to just three experiments.


Data from these experiments will be used to share lessons across the business about how Nike can talk authentically about these issues in stores, and then scale the MTZ programme consistently across EMEA.

According to the team at the Nike European HQ, the real differences have been creating momentum, seeing a sense of what’s possible with dynamic collaboration across departments, and establishing a structure for doing more:

 “You’ve kept us honest and made sure we’ve kept this programme alive. Sustainability and everything MTZ matters so much to us all. You’ve made sure we’ve made brilliant progress.”

For the benefit of both the planet and Nike’s brand reputation, applying a structured system of creativity with true test-and-learn techniques has opened the possibility of the company taking a new lead in the field of sustainability.

Get in touch with the Brilliant Noise team to discuss how to start building your brand’s authentic reputation for sustainability and social responsibility.