The great challenge for modern research is to define the most efficient tools to make more sustainable the industrial production and manufacturing. Among the different aspects that require attention the replacement of toxic and/or non-renewable solvents it is certainly playing a crucial role. Dealing with widely used dipolar aprotic solvents, among the different alternatives proposed in the literature γ-valerolactone (GVL) plays a pivotal role covering different application area. In this contribution, the benefits derived from the use of GVL as a circular, safe, biomass-derived reaction medium are highlighted covering most recent publications (2021). The presentation has been divided into three major sections: (i) biomass valorization, (ii) materials synthesis, manufacturing and recycle and (iii) new synthetic methodologies. © 2022 Elsevier B.V.