One of the reasons why Scorsese chose to shoot RAGING BULL in black and white was that he was concerned with contemporary Eastman color stock fading.
In the early '80s he spearheaded a campaign which addressed the problem of color fading in film stock. The campaign was successful, with Eastman eventually manufacturing a better stock. It also stimulated public support for preservation.

Currently, Scorsese is Co-Chair of the National Center for Film and Video Preservation. The National Center for Film and Video Preservation was established in 1984 by the American Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. Its mission is to: Serve as the center for coordinating American moving image preservation activities on a national scale (in this role the NCFVP serves as Secretariat for the Association of Moving Image Archivists and for The Film Foundation); implement the National Moving Image Database (NAMID), which centralizes information on the film and television holdings of American archives and producers; research and publish the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, which provides definitive filmographies on all feature-length motion pictures produced in the U.S. on a decade-by-decade basis; locate and acquire films and television programs for inclusion in the AFI Collection to be preserved at the Library of Congress and other archives; establish ongoing relationships between the public archives and the film and television industry; and create broader public awareness of preservation needs.

Scorsese is also the President of the Film Foundation's Board of Directors, a group of filmmakers dedicated to ensuring the survival of the American film heritage. The Foundation was started in 1990 with four primary goals: In all of its activities it will foster a greater awareness with the general public of the urgent need to preserve motion picture history; the Foundation will work with the archives to raise funds for preservation; the Foundation will encourage cooperative preservation projects, bringing together the archives and the industry; and it will work to ensure that reliable preservation practices are in place for current productions.