This was a discussion in office today.
A person who disagrees with the statement gave this example: "I am a shoe maker in Kanpur. My toxic waste goes into the river. No expense to me. "
My answer: Yes, you're right. Then your child drinks that water and promptly catches a respiratory/stomach infection. Off to the hospital you go and spend 5000 rupees over the next few months. Then the same thing happens to another member in the family, then in the neighborhood. Then one day, someone from WHO or BBC comes to your town and blames the pollution. From there, you also start blaming the pollution without realising that you caused it, and what you saved in sustainability initiatives, you paid at the hospital.
Example 2: You are JP Industries Limited. You win all the tenders of hydel power projects in hilly states in India. You are required to reforest, but you don't. Repeatedly, the entire region is inundated in a flash flood, or in a landslide, and there goes your expensive machinery with it. OR, the flow of water reduces till the power plant is not profitable. Or even sustainable. And there are no more sites left to do hydel power work.
Moral of the story: Investment in sustainable development is not a motivation factor any more. Its a hygiene factor. We will not profit from it, but we will perish without it.