Emma Scott, Head of Retail and Licensing at WWF-UK, discusses licensing Wild Scenes – and being green

The World Wide Fund for Nature’s Emma Scott on why their Wild Scenes sets are a labour of love

Emma, thanks for joining us. I’m genuinely thrilled! You’re Head of Retail and Licensing at WWF-UK… That’s the UK arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature. So first, what’s WWF’s mission? And how is it achieving that?
WWF is a global organisation, and our mission is to bring our world back to life. With nature in freefall, we’re urgently tackling the underlying causes that are driving the decline – especially the food system and climate change. And we’re finding solutions so future generations have a world with thriving habitats and wildlife.

A huge challenge…
It is a huge challenge, but there’s hope. We’re working globally with governments, companies, communities and others to act and transform our world. We’re using our ground-breaking scientific research, our global influence, and the backing of our many supporters to make sure the natural world’s vital signs are recovering by 2030.

Emma Scott, WWF

As I mentioned before we started, WWF was my grandma’s favourite cause when I was little… And that was a lonnnnnnnng time ago! So how old is WWF? And how has its work changed over the years?
The World Wildlife Fund – as it was called then – was founded in 1961; we recently celebrated our 60th birthday. It was created with the aim of saving the world’s wildlife and, over time, we’ve developed a much more holistic approach to conservation. As we began to understand that habitat preservation, the impact of climate change, working with business, industry and local communities were just as important to protect as the animals themselves.

Makes absolute sense. We’re speaking today because I saw what I thought was an interesting piece of licensing at London Toy Fair… Your Wild Scenes products from PlayMonster!
They are great, aren’t they?

They really are! And I understand there are four to collect: pandas, orangutans, elephants and tigers. For the uninitiated, how do you describe them?
It’s been a real labour of love by PlayMonster to get these produced and we are so happy with how they’ve turned out. They’re re a buildable playset, complete with movable animals that encourages children to learn about endangered species – and what they can do to help protect them. There’s even a packet of seeds included that children can grow and care for, and I think this really bring the scenes to life.

Emma Scott, WWF

I’m completely enamoured with them! How did they come about, Emma?
PlayMonster bought the concept of Wild Scenes to WWF and we loved the idea from the off! The fact that they wanted to produce the range as sustainably and ethically as possible was exciting too. It’s been great working with the PlayMonster team, and the end product has certainly been worth it.

Well, look… I’m about to describe these as “toys”, but I hesitate to do so! For want of a better word, then, I’m presuming an organisation like yours has to be careful when it lends its name to a ‘toy’. How environmentally sound is the range?
WWF has an extremely stringent set of environmental and ethical criteria that any product we put our name to or carry in the shop must adhere to. What’s brilliant about Wild Scenes is that they’re 100% recycled plastic and 100% recyclable too. There are little touches too – such as using paper ties to keep the animals in place in their display case. That means there’s no single-use plastic at all.

Recycled and recyclable – excellent! And looking at your licensing efforts elsewhere, Emma, what is it you look for in a product?
Of course, a product being sustainable and ethical is hugely important, but it means nothing if it’s not something that someone really wants. In our online shop, we carry products that we want someone to see, fall in love with and ultimately buy. We try to ensure that there’s an interesting story behind the products too – whether it’s the material it’s made from or the community who made it. We want products that bring joy and give a little something back.

And the same question regarding the partners themselves… What must people and organisations be or do if they want to be a licensing partner?
We love working with like-minded people who want to create beautiful, sustainable products. Getting through our environmental criteria is really challenging – only the fittest survive that first hurdle. We’re more than happy to offer advice and solutions, and we’re always on the lookout for new licensing partners, suppliers and artists to collaborate with.

Emma Scott, WWF

Are there any areas of licensing you’d like to get into but haven’t yet found the right lead?
My dream is for WWF to collaborate with Anya Hindmarch on a beautiful, sustainable designer bag that reflects our shared values. I think she’s a creative genius.

Great answer! And who knows, maybe she’s an avid Brands Untapped reader! So, tell me: how is it that you came to be working in licensing, Emma? And at WWF, specifically?
Working at WWF came first actually.

Oh! See, I more or less assumed the opposite…
Right. But I first started here back in 2003. I’ve held various roles over the years, but – in 2020 – I joined the Retail and Licensing team working on new product development. Then, last year, I applied for the role I have now and got it. We’re a small team and we do great things. I’m so proud of what we produce and how much we raise to support WWF’s vital work.

I like your positive energy, Emma. Thank you. Let me wrap this up with one final question– Well, too, really! First: what’s the one question I could’ve asked you today but didn’t?
What would you like to be doing if you weren’t doing this?

Annnnnnd second, then… What’s the answer?
Living in a rose-pink villa on a Greek island and working on a turtle conservation project.

That would’ve been my guess, actually! Thanks Emma – splendid stuff.
Emma Scott, WWF

Stay up to date with the latest news, interviews and opinions with our weekly newsletter

Sign Up

Enter your details to receive Brands Untapped updates & news.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.