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Category: CEO’s POV

How do Carbon Offsets Work?

How do Carbon Offsets Work?

We all have a carbon footprint. Everyday activities like driving your car, using your computer, operating a business, or heating your home generate greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to your carbon footprint which impacts the environment. The best thing we can do to preserve the environment is to take actions to reduce our carbon footprint such as using mass transit and using more efficient lighting and appliances.

However, no matter how much we reduce it’s virtually impossible to avoid all emissions that contribute to our carbon footprint, this is where carbon offsets come in — you can counterbalance or green your unavoidable footprint with CleanSteps®.

Here’s how it works: a business like a landfill or transportation company develops a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions above and beyond what is already required of them by law. These reductions are measured and verified by independent third parties such at Green-e®.
A carbon offset is then created for every metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions that is reduced from the project. These carbon offsets can be purchased by other individuals and businesses to counterbalance or green their carbon footprint since these projects would not otherwise have been developed. This way, everybody wins.
CleanSteps® is an easy and simple way to reduce your carbon footprint and promote cleaner air and water. The environmental benefit of just one carbon offset compares to taking the average car off the road for about two months or the planting of 16.5 tree saplings that will grow for 10 years.
TRUIST Perspective: Rising yield and less Fed accommodation to inject volatility but history suggests primary market trend remains higher

TRUIST Perspective: Rising yield and less Fed accommodation to inject volatility but history suggests primary market trend remains higher

January 6, 2022

What happened?

After a strong start to the year, volatility in markets has risen. Investors appear concerned that the Federal Reserve (Fed) may reduce policy accommodation at a faster rate than previously expected. At the same time, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has jumped from a low of 1.35% in late December to above 1.70% for the first time since April 2021.

Our take

A shift in Fed policy often injects volatility into markets. Indeed, this is one of the key points we discussed in our 2022 outlook and is a reason behind why we are looking for more moderate market returns and more normal pullbacks.

That said, stocks have generally had positive performance during periods where the Fed is raising short-term rates because this is normally paired with a healthy economy. A growing economy supports corporate profit growth, which supports the stock market.

Moreover, with U.S. GDP output above pre-pandemic levels, annual job gains in 2021 at a record level, and inflation well above average, it’s hard to justify maximum monetary policy accommodation when the economy is no longer in crisis.

However, it will be a long time before one could argue that Fed policy is restrictive, especially when one considers that yields after inflation, known as real yields, remain in deeply-negative territory. This stands in sharp contrast to 2018, when markets had a sharp selloff late in the year when real yields were slightly positive and investors were concerned the Fed was becoming too aggressive.

Notably, stocks have risen at an average annualized rate of 9% during the 12 Fed rate hike cycles since the 1950s and showed positive returns in 11 of those instances. The one exception was the 1972-1974 period, which coincided with the 1973-1975 recession. Our work suggests near-term recession risks remain low.

Likewise, stocks have generally risen during periods of rising 10-year U.S. Treasury yields. In a study of 15 periods where intermediate rates rose by at least 1.5 percentage points since 1950, stocks averaged an annualized gain of 12%. The exceptions have coincided with recessions or economic slowdowns.

Importantly, intermediate-term rates are only back to pre-pandemic levels. This is certainly justified in our view given the aforementioned economic and inflation backdrop. It’s also consistent with our fixed income team’s outlook for higher rates and higher volatility.

Even with the recent rise in 10-year yields and stocks, the equity risk premium, a metric that compares the valuation of stocks to bonds, remains at a level that has historically corresponded with stocks outperforming bonds on a 12-month basis by an average of almost 11%. Accordingly, we do not see the current level of the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield as a significant threat to the bull market.

To read the publication in its entirety, please Download PDF

Keith Lerner, CFA, CMT

Co-Chief Investment Officer
Chief Market Strategist
Truist Advisory Services, Inc.

Shelly Simpson, CFA, CAIA

Senior Investment Strategy Analyst
Portfolio & Market Strategy
Truist Advisory Services, Inc.

Privacy Beyond Compliance: A Business Driver to Gain Consumer Trust and Increase Sales

Privacy Beyond Compliance: A Business Driver to Gain Consumer Trust and Increase Sales

The greatest modern commodity is no longer gold or oil, it is data. Today’s technology has enabled companies to collect and store massive amounts of consumer data. While there are many benefits and rewards to collecting and monetizing data, there are just as many risks and responsibilities when it comes to handling consumers’ personal information. Data can be a powerful tool to improve a product or service; however, to truly reap the benefits of data, businesses need to collect, store, and use it responsibly. Otherwise, corporations will lose customers’ trust and, ultimately, their business. Read More

You’ve Qualified for a PPP Loan, Now What? How to Avoid Non-Compliance as You Begin to Utilize Funds

You’ve Qualified for a PPP Loan, Now What? How to Avoid Non-Compliance as You Begin to Utilize Funds

As a small business, you may have qualified to receive a piece of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds that were allocated by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in response to the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition to bolstering cash flow, SBA’s PPP will also forgive loans if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the funding is utilized specifically for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

This past Monday, SBA reported that it had successfully processed more than 100,000 loans from more than 4,000 lenders. Assuming your small business was able to quickly turn around the application, it’s likely you received your funding (or it may be on the way as the SBA preps to process PPP round two – as an additional $310 billion in funding was granted by the SBA this week).

As organizations begin to put this funding to use, it’s imperative that the requirements for where, when and how you use these funds are top of mind as the fear of non-compliance looms. Taking necessary actions now can assist your small business down the road to reach forgiveness – you don’t want a loan (and neither does the bank at these low interest rates), you want forgiveness.

  • FORGIVENESS SURROUNDING EMPLOYEES
    • As referenced prior, one stipulation regarding the PPP loan forgiveness states that “SBA will forgive all loans if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.”
    • It’s important to note that the eight-week period that is referenced commences on the exact date that the PPP funds are received.
  • PAID OR INCURRED – BE CONSISTENT IN THE APPROACH
    • The law states that costs must be paid or incurred, which could be two different things depending on timing. For ease of reporting, and to best match up cash flow, it’s likely best to track things on a cash basis.
  • ENSURE RENT, UTILITIES, MORTGAGE INTEREST ARE PAID AND UP TO DATE
    • No more than 25% of the forgivable amount of the loan can be attributable to these non-payroll costs.
    • If your facilities costs include common area maintenance, do your best to get billed by lessor or estimate and pay.
  • CONSIDER PRE-FUNDING BONUSES TO EMPLOYEES THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE ENTITLED
    • If possible, consider matching contributions to retirement plans, such as 401(k) even if on a discretionary basis. You could also provide additional Health Savings Account (HSA) funding.
  • COMPENSATION IS LIMITED
    • Keep in mind, as a small business you are limited to no more than $100,000 (annualized) for one employee. This works out to $15,384 of compensation during the eight-week period.
  • KEEP TRACK OF HEADCOUNT
    • If you have had a recent reduction in employee headcount, consider bringing those employees back by June 30, 2020. They will count as Full-time equivalent (FTE) for the entire eight-week covered period.
  • SETUP A SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNT
    • While this is not required, it makes this significantly easier for inflow/outflow tracking purposes as you begin to use funding
    • Support for expenditures will need to be shown, but one dedicated account will make this process more painless.
  • NO DOUBLE DIPPING
    • If there are employees on your payroll that receive their salaries in the form of a government grant, they need to be excluded from your total employee count.
  • SOCIAL SECURITY TAX DEFERRAL
    • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has clarified that employers receiving PPP loans (that have not have been forgiven), may be able to take advantage of the Social Security tax deferral, without incurring penalties, until the date on which the lender issues a decision to forgive the PPP loan.
    • The tax that is deferred prior to the loan forgiveness date is due under the applicable dates provided in the statute (50% by December 31, 2021 and 50% by December 31, 2022).

Read more on: Assurance & Advisory | Income Tax Services

Top Digital Trends for Life Sceience Business in 2020

Top Digital Trends for Life Sceience Business in 2020

Life science and health care is the industry which is a late adopter of digital innovation but never left untouched by this. For life sciences companies who are looking to transform digital technology, here are the latest tech trends they should focus on.

 

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

One of the biggest challenges for life sciences companies is the time it takes to develop a product or drug, it varies from 7-10 years.  A lot of this time is spent in reviewing and analyzing data, which can be reduced by using AI and ML. Researchers are focusing on writing AI scripts that can analyze the structures and unstructured data and present the meaningful value to the research community so that they can make faster decisions. AI can be used to select the right patient and sites for clinical trials to accelerate the trial process. Using AI and machine Learning, you can train the system to analyze people, drugs, trial results and regulations to expedite the drug delivery process. 

 

Automated Data Extraction

Data extraction is a critical step for life science companies and regulatory agencies. Companies can use automated scripts to read relevant research data, historical trends to make better business decisions. Regulatory agencies can use it to read the submitted data and analyze it and make decisions like who to send the data for review. Regulatory agencies can use this to inform the drug manufacturer or public as well about the safety concern of a drug or ingredient. 

 

Natural Language Processing

Reading unstructured data and understanding it in context of language and research has always been a challenge for life science companies. Additionally, companies that are submitting drugs in multiple markets have to face the challenge of translating content and labels in different languages. NLP can help this, It can be used to read unstructured data like texts, comments and data collected from kiosk in context of the scenario. NLP can be combined with machine learning to train the system and extract the right meaning. 

 

Blockchain

Managing and securing data is big for life science companies. Blockchain seems to be the right solution for clinical trial, drug delivery and supply chain management. It can be used to secure patient health records, trial outcomes, historical data, communication among stakeholders, and other related data. Some blockchain platforms are being launched to cater to the life sciences, there is more need to understand the use cases and come up with the right solutions.

 

Mobile Apps /Wearables for Data Collection

Last 10 years have seen an explosion in mobile apps and wearable for health and fitness. Life science companies were initially slow to adopt to these technologies, however, they are focusing more on this now. It really makes the clinical trial process faster and accurate. You can give apps and wearables to patients to gather the data in real time and make the right decision. Overall, these technologies make the process faster and less costly. 

Piyush Jain is CEO and Founder of Simpalm, a custom software development company based in Bethesda, MD.

Posted by
Piyush Jain
Author Bio
After graduating from Hopkins in 2006, Piyush Jain set out on the path of tech entrepreneurship and founded two companies, Simpalm and Ducknowl in Maryland. His interests are digital tech, IoT, Mobile apps, AI, machine learning, and blockchain.
Big Announcements from Maryland Tech Council

Big Announcements from Maryland Tech Council

Please see important information below regarding our office move, guest blogs and member videos! Let me know if you have questions.  I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!

  • Big Move

    Maryland Tech Council is saying goodbye to our old digs on September 20, 2017.  Please make note, our communications will be down that day and we will resume full activity on September 21, 2017.  MTC’s new headquarters will be located at Launch Workplaces in Gaithersburg MD, 9841 Washingtonian Boulevard, Suite 200, Gaithersburg MD 20878.

  • Be a Guest Blogger

    Maryland Tech Council is launching the Member Point of View (POV) guest blogs.  We are inviting members to submit content for our blog page.  The content will be focused on your niche/industry where you can add a new POV for the MTC audience. Our goal is to position you as an authority and well-known name in the industry. And for us, we will have fresh new content for the page and get new readers to our blogger community.  It’s simple and a win-win.  We will have numerous categories that you can write articles for; those will be available in the next few weeks.  We are kicking off the Member POV blogs during Cyber Security Awareness month in October.  If you are interested in submitting a blog on that topic, please let me know and we will get you started.

  • Become a Familiar Face in the Community

    Maryland Tech Council is revitalizing the “member spotlight” that is featured in the VIBE E-newsletter. We now offer the opportunity to feature you, the member, through our new and exciting video blog or vlog.  The video will be 30-45 seconds, prerecorded at our offices, about your company. We will then feature the vlog in our monthly VIBE E-newsletter.  The vlogs allow us to distribute the member spotlight through other formats such as twitter, Facebook, etc. to get you more exposure.  I mean, we are the Tech Council, right?  

 

Remember, everyone in your company is a member of MTC. Please share this important information with your team.

Warm Wishes,
Michelle

Michelle Ferrone
EVP, Operations
Maryland Tech Council
240-243-4047