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The use of greener and more sustainable methods for the synthesis of commodity and specialty organics is an ongoing challenge for modern chemists. Driven by societal demands and fundamental interest, our group has been involved for several years in the development of more efficient catalysts for small molecule activation, conversion and valorization with a special emphasis on the use of carbon/sulfur dioxide, terpenes and other bio-sourced scaffolds. Our current research is centered on the use of effective and new catalytic solutions (both metal- and organocatalysis orientated) towards the preparation of fine chemicals, pharma-relevant compounds and novel materials based on bio-based polymers. In these studies we focus on exquisite control over chemo-, regio-, diastereo- and enantio-selectivity features creating new synthetic opportunities of fundamental and industrial interest. The upgrading of generally considered low-value feedstock (CO2, SO2, fatty acids, lactones …) offers a way to contribute to a circular economy and improving the sustainability of our societies.