The oxidation of 1,4-butanediol and butyrolactone have been investigated by using supported gold, palladium and gold–palladium nanoparticles. The products of such reactions are valuable chemical intermediates and, for example, can present a viable pathway for the sustainable production of polymers. If both gold and palladium were present, a significant synergistic effect on the selective formation of dimethyl succinate was observed. The support played a significant role in the reaction, with magnesium hydroxide leading to the highest yield of dimethyl succinate. Based on structural characterisation of the fresh and used catalysts, it was determined that small gold–palladium nanoalloys supported on a basic Mg(OH)2 support provided the best catalysts for this reaction.