In WCS Blog

Cities: Delft, Netherlands; Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium

In November 2022, a delegation of WCS members went on a European tour to meet with cleantech industry leaders in the area and our growing European community. This trip intended to explore interest in Europeans for the level of community WCS provides and to develop support for future initiatives, such as chapters in key cities and the potential of hosting both virtual and in-person events throughout 2023.

This tour would not have been possible without our sponsors. Thank you to our Corporate members for our European tour –  Elmo Remote, Cleantech Group, Marble, and Technica Communications – and for supporting our efforts!



    • 100s watched Vice Chair’s Climate Launchpad panel
    • Over 30 women joined us in Paris
    • 90 offers from individuals to collaborate, volunteer, sponsor, and host events at Cleantech Forum Europe
    • Deep insights gained on the similarities and differences in European and US industry perspectives and trends that will drive future events and WCS community building

To be part of our expansion or learn more about our European efforts, reach out to

Read our recap of our time in each city below.



Our trip officially began in Delft, Netherlands, at the ClimateLaunchPad Global Grand Final, the world’s largest green business ideas competition. The organization invited WCS Vice Chairwoman, Sara Fuentes, to join a panel to discuss “The Power of Diversity in Climate Entrepreneurship.” The conversation was broadcast live to hundreds of people worldwide watching the final competition, which showcased this year’s best pitches by the top 16 teams from across the globe. 

A key moment of Sara’s panel was when she offered her advice for people or companies looking to create diversity: BE FUN

“When you incorporate fun, you’re going to be more creative and more innovative, and people are going to be attracted to that.”

                – Sara Fuentes, Founder and President, SmartWaste
                   Vice Chairwoman, Women in Cleantech & Sustainability

The fight against climate change is a serious matter that can sometimes feel like a daunting task. By also embracing a culture of fun, you’re creating an environment where you’re unlocking creativity and attracting diverse bright minds from all walks of life wanting to tackle these big issues.  

Here at Women in Cleantech & Sustainability, fun is just one focus of ours. That’s why our organization has such a diverse group of women in the cleantech field looking to not only change the world and advance the clean economy but also make friends and find enjoyment while doing so.

Watch our members recap their time at ClimateLaunchpad below.



More than 30 women from all around Europe attended our happy hour in Paris, with one of our corporate members even rerouting their flight to attend.

Thank you to Li-Cycle and Elmo Remote for joining as corporate sponsors at the event!

“There was a powerful energy in the room, everyone connected over their passion and interest in climate action and innovation. I met many change-makers and sustainability champions who were inspired by what our community has to offer, I look forward to further establishing our European Chapter to support these agents of change”.

                  – Kirpa Grewal, Business Development Associate, Sustainable Brands
                     Volunteer Co-Lead, Women in Cleantech & Sustainability

We were amazed to see the support we received from the local community there. One of our goals at Women in Cleantech & Sustainability is to bring women to the forefront of clean energy innovation. We know it takes a strong community to support a strong organization and its mission. After our Paris Happy hour, we know that our society in Europe is already strong and growing.

As one of our volunteers on the Entrepreneurship Committee, Wenru Shi, said:

“When a room of women investors, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts in the cleantech field gathered together at the WCS Paris Happy Hour, I could feel the community initiation and build-up through positive messaging between each other.”


The final stop of our tour was Brussels! Our visit here was extremely successful thanks to the support of Cleantech Group. Preceding the opening reception of the annual Cleantech Forum Europe, our delegation held a closed-door meeting with stakeholders to discuss the future of WCS in Europe. This was an essential part of our time at Cleantech Forum, and we want to thank Cleantech Group for hosting us!

“Collaborations between WCS and the Cleantech Group have always been successful. Our time at the Cleantech Forum Europe invigorated our delegation with the insights, connections, and inspiration we are looking for to carry the WCS community to the continent in a concerted way.”

             –  Lisa Ann Pinkerton, CEO, Technica Communications
                 Co-Host, The Earthlings Podcast
                 Founder and Chairwoman, Women in Cleantech & Sustainability

As we move into the next decade as a stronger international organization, we want to serve our growing membership here with dedicated on-the-ground support directly. This meeting gave us significant input and ideas on how to be of service to this community. Our delegation heard attendees’ perspectives on where the industry is going and what needs to be done to curb the impacts of climate change.

We asked for insights on companies’ and individuals’ priorities, topics for events, and the best networks to connect with. A lot of what we learned aligned closely with what we have seen in the US. 


  • Hiring is difficult without a pipeline of diverse applicants
  • Women need mentorship and tools to build confidence
  • Entrepreneurship and new technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture are of interest
  • There are groups in Europe that focus on women, and those on cleantech, but few that mix the two.
  • With the structure of EU ESG policy, energy prices in Europe this winter, and different paternity benefits, WCS needs to plan targeted events for this audience.

“I particularly enjoyed hearing in my breakout station at our stakeholder meeting everyone’s perspectives on where the industry is going and what needs to be done to curb the impacts of climate change.  It was clear that WCS has a lot to learn from this community, whether that be through spotlighting experts on panels, cross-promoting other organizations, or networking with individuals.”

             –  Caroline Trowbridge, Associate Lead Financial Analyst, Ørsted
                European Co-Chair, Women in Cleantech & Sustainability

While at the conference, our team also heard from many other experts in the industry discussing the big ideas that have the power to deliver a cleaner and cooler world.

Cleantech Forum Europe is a conference dedicated to the global clean technology innovation community, uniting policymakers, innovators, investors, and corporations to take climate leadership to a new level. During the conference, we heard from Wenru Shi, a volunteer on our Entrepreneurship Committee, who pitched her company, FINGREEN AI, where she is CIO. Her company builds software that helps companies and financial actors leverage Data and Explainable AI to meet their specific ESG needs as transparently as possible. 

“Pitching together with the other two women entrepreneurs at Cleantech Forum, I was more than aware of the support we need to give and receive as women entrepreneurs. WCS European Tour and all Cleantech Forum meetings with women entrepreneurs and investors have further motivated me to keep building a diverse community in cleantech and sustainability. It’s still a long journey to go, but we are on our way.”

             –  Wenru Shi, CIO, FINGREEN AI
                Entrepreneurship Committee Volunteer, Women in Cleantech & Sustainability

Sara Fuentes spoke on another panel — this time discussing “The Next Tech Frontier: Unlocking the Potential of Diverse Cleantech Founders and Intrapreneurs.” Notably, the panel reminded us how important it is to engage men in the conversation about gender imbalance in the industry. The founder of Cleantech Group, and the man who coined the phrase “Cleantech,” Nicholas Parker, shared during the Q&A that he sees diversity as a key component of innovation. Having powerful people like him in the room proves that WCS’ mission does not just benefit women – it pushes the whole industry forward. We took away a powerful concept we seek to explore on in 2023, namely, how can we welcome more men into the effort to embrace their potential as “man-bassadors” to support society’s efforts to increase diversity. 

Watch our members recap their time at Cleantech Forum below.

Overall, the WCS trip was effective in illustrating where the organization can be of service in Europe. And, we are not finished learning. We continue to hold meetings with our European colleagues to gain insights and establish future partnerships. We’ve got exciting plans for 2023, and we want YOU to be a part of it!

To be part of our expansion or learn more about our European efforts, reach out to



Our European Expansion tour would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors: Technica Communications and Elmo Remote, as well as our partners, ClimateLaunchPad, Cleantech Group, and Marble. Thank you all for your support in helping us bring Women in Cleantech & Sustainability to Europe!

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