Many commercially employed carbon materials are typically hydrophobic, chemically inert and microporous. Therefore, with an eye to the future, there is a need to develop new, carbon-based porous materials, the properties of which can be easily tuned to address the catalytic and separation challenges of future energy and chemical provision schemes (e.g. the Methanol Economy or Biorefinery schemes). In this regard, the synthesis of such materials must be conducted in as sustainable a manner as possible, ideally providing a flexible platform upon which to tailor properties such as functionality, porosity at different length scales (e.g. micro-, meso-, and macroporosity), hydrophilic character and macrophology (e.g. monoliths, particulates, etc.) amongst others. This chapter therefore aims to introduce one top-down synthetic approach to this end, the Starbon® materials concept. An accompanying material development history will be provided followed by a review of the variety of interesting functionally rich, highly mesoporous, high surface area (e.g. > 0.5 cm3 g–1; > 200 m2 g–1) carbonaceous materials that are accessible via the development of porous polysaccharide-derived materials and their subsequent carbonaceous derivatives. The chapter intends to provide the reader with an overview of the exciting opportunities that are open to the carbon materials chemist based on the discussed synthetic approach.