Advocates of sustainable business and manufacturing practices, including me, have been saying for years that a sustainable enterprise is not only possible and practical, but that it is profitable beyond the low hanging fruit of energy savings from replacing light bulbs and the like.
Here's an article from our sister publication @SustainablePlant that says we have not been wrong.
It is all about re-jiggering and widening what I've been calling the economic calculus. Just as with air and water pollution four and five decades ago, the calculus is being widened to incorporate sustainability as a normal cost/profit center. Nobody would think, today, of dumping raw flammable waste into, say, the Cuyahoga River (it burned, remember?). In fifty years, nobody will even consider operating a manufacturing enterprise in any other way but sustainably.