Catalytic non-reductive CO2 transformations offer a viable route to the valorization of a cheap and accessible carbon feedstock. Our group has pioneered over the last 10 years the development of new catalytic processes and concepts to advance the synthesis of CO2 based heterocycles known as cyclic carbonates and carbamates to allow for a higher degree of complexity and substitution degree reminiscent to naturally occurring carbonates. The newly developed synthetic routes have greatly amplified the portfolio of functional heterocyclic scaffolds, and as such initiated their use as versatile substrates in challenging stereoselective and asymmetric transformations of which various are not feasible with other types of known precursors. In a subset of these conversions, mechanistic studies have revealed the origin for the observed unique reactivity behavior that can be attained with functional CO2based heterocycles. This lecture will provide a clear connection between the development of new categories of CO2 based compounds and their use as privileged substrates in synthetic chemistry, thereby creating impetus for new fine-chemical, pharmaceutical and polymer applications.