It is cynical, but the reason I don't think it's too cynical is that the industries have mastered the art of working around the regulations given them and lobbying to tweak the rules in ways that benefit them. Also, one effect of regulation is to protect industry leaders from competition, which makes them more profitable and thus attractive for investment.
Not only are more regulated industries more attractive for investment and thus expansion, the public also feels more comfortable with consuming more when they believe the industries behind the products they are consuming are well-regulated and thus less of an environmental threat. They may even spend more on certified products with the idea that they are supporting 'good industries' by doing so and thus helping to save and protect the planet.
Do you really think that expanding industries and consumer-confidence in them can occur without causing more environmental problems? Are there really 'clean' industries or is it always better to conserve than to burn through resources full-throttle in the belief that they are 'clean?'
imo, nothing can be sustainable if its use/consumption is not kept to a minimum. The second law of thermodynamics (entropy) causes everything to break down at a faster or slower rate depending on how fast potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. There may be natural processes that re-potentiate energy in various ways, but if we consume faster than those processes can heal the planet, it doesn't really matter how well-regulated and thus 'clean' we imagine industry to have become, because the system is degenerating faster than it can repair itself.