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European Union lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that would ban the sale of agricultural products linked to the destruction of forests, a move welcomed by many environmental groups, the Associated Press reported.

Under the proposed law, companies and producers will need to ensure that their products are “deforestation-free.” Businesses will also be required to verify that agricultural goods sold in the 27-nation bloc have not been produced on “deforested or degraded land anywhere in the world.”

EU legislators are also considering including banks and other financial institutions in the law in order to prevent them from investing in projects linked to deforestation.

The proposal was made by the European Commission – the EU’s executive branch – and would cover products such as soy, cattle, coffee and wood. European lawmakers are also considering adding pork, poultry, charcoal and printed-paper products.

Environmental advocates praised the planned legislation, saying that it “could be the beginning of the end of the money pipeline that is destroying forests around the world.”

Agricultural expansion is the primary cause of deforestation in South America, Africa and Asia.

Data from the United Nations shows that more than one billion acres of forest were lost to deforestation between 1990 and 2020.

At the COP26 UN climate summit in 2021, more than 100 countries, covering over 85 percent of the world’s forests, vowed to reverse deforestation by 2030.

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