The catalytic formation of cyclic organic carbonates (COCs) using carbon dioxide (CO2) as a renewable carbon feed stock is a highly vibrant area of research with an increasing amount of researchers focusing on this thematic investigation. These organic carbonates are highly useful building blocks and nontoxic reagents and are most commonly derived from CO2 coupling reactions with oxirane and dialcohol precursors using homogeneous catalysis methodologies. The activation of suitable reaction partners using catalysis as a key technology is a requisite for efficient CO2 conversion as its high kinetic stability poses a barrier to access functional organic molecules with added value in both academic and industrial laboratories. Although this area of science has been flourishing for at least a decade, in the past 2-3 years, significant advancements have been made to address the general reactivity and selectivity issues that are associated with the formation of COCs. Here, we present a concise overview of these activities with a primary focus to highlight the most important progress made and the opportunities that catalysis can bring about when the synthesis of these intermediates is optimized to a higher level of sophistication. The attention will be limited to those cases in which homogeneous metal-containing systems have been employed because they possess the highest potential for directed organic synthesis using CO2 as molecular building block. This review discusses examples of exceptional reactivity and selectivity, taking into account the challenging nature of the substrates that were involved, and mechanistic understanding guiding the optimization of these protocols is also highlighted. (Chemical Equation Presented).
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