We have developed a carbonylative approach to the synthesis of diversely substituted 2-aroylbenzoate esters featuring a new protocol for the carbonylative coupling of aryl bromides with boronic acids and a new strategy to favour carbonylative over non-carbonylative reactions. Two different synthetic pathways-(i) the alkoxycarbonylation of 2-bromo benzophenones and (ii) the carbonylative Suzuki-Miyaura coupling of 2-bromobenzoate esters-were evaluated. The latter approach provided a broader substrate tolerance, and thus was the preferred pathway. We observed that 2-substituted aryl bromides were challenging substrates for carbonylative chemistry favouring the non-carbonylative pathway. However, we found that carbonylative Suzuki-Miyaura couplings can be improved by slow addition of the boronic acid, suppressing the unwanted direct Suzuki coupling and, thus increasing the yield of the carbonylative reaction.